Stock futures are flat as a big week of economic data kicks off

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, March 25, 2022.
Source: NYSE

Stock futures were mixed Monday morning as a week filled with key economic reports kicked off, and investors continue to keep a close eye on the Federal Reserve’s planned interest rate hikes.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 37 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures dipped marginally. Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 0.3%.

The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Friday to close out their second consecutive winning week. The Dow gained 153 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5% and has more than erased its losses since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2% but still finished the week in the green.

The moves came as investors continue to monitor developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine and expectations about the Fed’s plans to hike interest rates.

“It seems the skyrocketing move higher with commodity prices has taken a break and that has allowed investors a chance to pile back into equities,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Geopolitical risks remain very elevated and the rally in equities over the past two weeks is impressive. The U.S. economy is still in good shape, but buying every stock market dip probably won’t be the attitude for most traders going forward given how hawkish the Fed has turned.”

Investors continue to keep a close eye on the Fed. Wall Street firms from Goldman Sachs to Bank of America penciled in half-point hikes in future Fed meetings this year after the central bank’s chair Jerome Powell vowed to be tough on inflation and said rate increases could become more aggressive if necessary.

On Friday, the benchmark 10-year yield touched a fresh multi-year high of 2.5% as investors priced in a more aggressive rate hike cycle, which helped lift financial stocks while tech stocks pulled back.

Investors are looking forward to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, this week. The JOLTS report is one set of employment data that the Federal Reserve is watching closely as it tightens monetary policy. ADP will also release its private payrolls data ahead of the main show, the closely watched monthly jobs report, on Friday.

Monday is a light day for earnings reports but several big companies are scheduled to report their quarterly results this week, including BioNTech, Micron and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

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