Futures slip as rate-cut hopes ebb

By Thomson Reuters Apr 11, 2024 | 5:21 AM

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures dipped on Thursday as Treasury yields remained elevated a day after a hot inflation reading triggered a bruising Wall Street sell-off, diminishing hopes of a June rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Wall Street sold off sharply in the last session after data showed U.S. consumer prices increased more than expected in March, leading financial markets to deduce that the central bank might delay cutting interest rates until September this year.

Further fueling concerns, minutes of the central bank’s March meeting showed officials were worried that progress on inflation could have stalled and a longer period of tight monetary policy might be needed to tame the pace of price increases.

UBS Global Wealth Management now expects the Fed to start cutting interest rates in September, compared to its prior forecast of June rate cuts.

Traders currently see a 41% chance of the first rate cut in July, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Yields across government bonds remained elevated after Wednesday’s spike, with the 10-year note last at 4.5457%, hovering near its highest level since November.

The focus now shifts to the March reading of producer prices, due later in the day, along with weekly jobless claims to gauge the strength of the world’s biggest economy.

Traders pared back enthusiasm for monetary policy easing this year, with bets now showing only 40 basis points of cuts expected in 2024, according to LSEG data. This is down from about 150 bps seen at the start of 2024.

Investors will also watch for comments from New York Fed President John Williams, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic for hints on the central bank’s rate trajectory.

The first-quarter earnings season will pick up pace on Friday with a trio of big banks – JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup and Wells Fargo – slated to post quarterly results.

At 5:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 91 points, or 0.23%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 12.75 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 37.5 points, or 0.21%.

Biotech firm Alpine Immune Sciences is to be acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for about $4.9 billion in cash, both companies said. Alpine surged 36.3%, while Vertex was down 2.1%.

Clothing rental subscription service Rent the Runway jumped 36.9% after its positive full-year forecast.

Albemarle gained 1.7% after Berenberg upgraded the lithium miner’s rating to “buy” from “hold”.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)