As U.S. stock futures tentatively strengthened on Monday, investors held their breath amidst rising bond yields and awaited the conclusion of a crucial Federal Reserve policy meeting on Wednesday. Last week saw the Dow inching up by 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq experienced back-to-back weekly losses, dipping 0.2% and 0.4% respectively.
The financial markets are currently grappling with the fallout from a sharp sell-off, as benchmark bond yields edge towards 16-year highs and investors brace for a week filled with central bank action. The S&P 500 took a 1.2% hit on Friday, following stronger-than-expected economic news and escalating oil prices, which have sparked concerns over persistent inflation that could exceed the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.
U.S. Stock Futures Firm Amid Rising Bond Yields and Anticipation of Fed Meeting
U.S. stock futures exhibited slight firmness on Monday, as traders prepared for a surge in bond yields and the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Wednesday. Despite the Dow’s marginal rise of 0.1% last week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq experienced losses of 0.2% and 0.4% respectively, marking consecutive weekly losses for both indexes.
Market Struggles Amid Increasing Inflation Concerns
Investors are grappling with an attempt to recover from the recent sharp sell-off in stocks, as benchmark bond yields creep back towards 16-year highs. The spike in bond yields and a bustling week of central bank activities are contributing to the market’s volatility. Economic news indicating stronger-than-anticipated growth, combined with rising oil prices, have raised concerns of persistent inflation exceeding the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.
The U.S. Treasury reflected these worries, with 10-year implied borrowing costs escalating to 4.353%, just shy of their highest level since 2007. Concurrently, U.S. crude futures traded above $91 a barrel, hitting their peak since November.
Investor Worries and Central Bank Actions
Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, stated that investors are increasingly anxious about the signs of strengthening inflation and a possible prolonged high-rate environment, which could impact the S&P 500 Index.
The week will offer insights into how central banks perceive these developments, with the Federal Reserve expected to announce its policy decision midweek, followed by the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, noted that while a change in the Fed’s decision is not anticipated, the accompanying comments should offer some insight into its current stance.
Rising Dollar and Automakers’ Stocks
The recent surge in the dollar is also impacting market sentiment, according to Jonathan Krinsky, technical strategist at BTIG. The stocks of the Big Three automakers—General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler owner Stellantis NV—decreased in premarket trade on Monday as workers continued their strike for better pay and benefits. The strike began on Friday after the carmakers failed to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers.
The U.S. stock market is experiencing turbulence due to rising bond yields, inflation concerns, and anticipation of central bank decisions. Investors and market strategists are closely monitoring these factors and their potential impact on the economy. Furthermore, labor disputes in the automotive industry contribute to the market uncertainty. As these factors unfold, investors should brace for potential market volatility and carefully consider their investment strategies.