U.S. stock futures hold steady as a shortened session and Black Friday kicks off holiday shopping season

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U.S. stock index futures were indicating a mostly flat start in a shortened session for Wall Street on Friday after Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day holiday. Attention is expected to focus on the start of the holiday shopping season and whether consumer spending is holding up.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • S&P 500 futures

    rose 1.5 points to 4,034.50

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

    gained 19 points to 34,228

  • Nasdaq-100 futures

    slipped 10 points to 11,853.

Markets were closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Equities finished higher for a second session on Wednesday, with the Dow industrials

rising 95.96 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 34,194.06. The S&P 500

gained 23.68 points, or 0.6%, to 4,027.26, while the Nasdaq Composite

advanced 110.91 points, or 1%, to end at 11,285.32.

What’s driving markets?

Markets rose Wednesday after the minutes of the November Federal Reserve meeting showed most policy makers expect a slower pace of interest rate increases ahead. A batch of data also indicated economic growth is also slowing down.

Investors are clinging to hopes that the Fed will turn towards a less aggressive pace of rate hikes, amid concerns the economy is facing a tough 2023.

Read: Fed’s Bullard set to talk inflation, interest rates in MarketWatch Q&A Monday

There is no economic data planned for Friday, which will see a shortened session for Wall Street, with trading ending at 1 p.m. Eastern. But investors are facing a busy week ahead, with a large batch of data including revised third-quarter gross domestic product, the Fed’s favored inflation gauge, the PCE price index for October, home prices for September, and November employment data.

Elsewhere, China’s central bank said Friday that it will cut the amount of deposits banks have to set aside, releasing 500 billion yuan ($69.91 billion) of liquidity into an economy struggling with a Covid-19 outbreak.

“How effective that will prove to be when cities are seeing restrictions and effective lockdowns reimposed is hard to say. But combined with other measures to boost the property market and ease Covid curbs, the cut could be supportive over the medium term when growth remains highly uncertain,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, in a note to clients.

Read: Panic-buying seen in Beijing as government orders construction of COVID-19 quarantine centers

The post-Thanksgiving trading day Friday also kicks off the start of annual holiday shopping, known as Black Friday, which could put shares of Amazon.com

and Target
among others, in focus.

“Going into the holiday season, we’ll get an early idea of the state of play for household spending in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis,” added Erlam.

The bond market will also see a schedule similar to that of equities. U.S Treasury yields were little changed, with that of the two-year note

down 1 basis point to 4.467% and the yield on the 10-year note

steady at 3.691%.

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