Futures nearly flat ahead of Fed meet next week

By Thomson Reuters Mar 15, 2024 | 4:40 AM

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday as investors braced for a Federal Reserve meeting next week that could provide clues on the timing of the central bank’s interest-rate cuts.

Wall Street was set to end marginally higher this week in spite of hotter-than-expected consumer prices and producer prices data pointing to sticky inflation.

Higher inflation adds pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates elevated, pushing traders to rein in bets of a June rate cut by the Fed to 60% from 73% last week, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

All eyes are now on the Fed meeting next week and how soon the central bank could kick off the rate-easing cycle.

“At the Fed, the big question next week is what they’ll signal in their new dot plot, and whether the median dot still points towards three cuts for 2024, as happened in December,” Jim Reid, Deutsche Bank’s global head of economics and thematic research, said in a note.

At 05:04 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.03%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.03%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 6.5 points, or 0.04%.

Semiconductor stocks fell on Thursday and were on track to snap their three-week winning streak as investors took profits, awaiting the global GTC developer conference from March 18 to 21 for AI-related announcements.

Tesla climbed 1% in premarket trading, after two sessions of more than 4% losses each.

Madrigal Pharmaceuticals jumped 25.4% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its drug for a fatty liver disease known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Adobe shed 11.4% after it forecast second-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates, following stiff competition and weak demand for its AI-integrated photography, illustration and video.

Ulta Beauty slid 6.6% after it forecast full-year profit below Wall Street estimates as elevated supply-chain costs and increased promotions hurt its margins.

Crypto stocks such as MicroStrategy, Marathon Digital and Coinbase eased between 5% and 6% as bitcoin fell.

U.S. Steel slipped 0.7%, extending the previous session’s losses. President Joe Biden said on Thursday the company, which has agreed to be bought by Japan’s Nippon Steel for $14.9 billion, must remain a domestically owned American firm.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)