Futures inch up as megacaps extend gains, Fed verdict on tap

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 5:06 AM

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday as Tesla and Apple led gains in megacap companies while markets awaited the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision later in the week.

Tesla shares jumped 7.3% premarket after the electric vehicle maker cleared some key regulatory hurdles that have long hindered it from rolling out its self-driving software in China, the U.S. automaker’s second-largest market.

Apple added 1.7% after a report that the iPhone maker had renewed discussions with OpenAI about using the startup’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Bernstein upgraded the stock to “outperform”.

Easing yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note also helped, with some other megacaps extending their gains from last week. Amazon.com and Microsoft were up 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, buoyed by moderate inflation data and a rally in megacap growth stocks following robust quarterly results from technology heavyweights Alphabet and Microsoft.

Earnings season is in full swing, with adjusted blended earnings for the first quarter estimated to grow 8.7% on a year-on-year basis, according to LSEG data.

On the day, Domino’s Pizza and ON Semiconductor are slated to report their quarterly numbers before the opening bell.

Sentiment remained upbeat as the personal consumption expenditure index data on Friday was largely in line with economists’ expectations, easing concerns about persistent inflationary pressures. Also offering support, Israel-Hamas peace talks in Cairo eased fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East

Focus will now shift to the Fed’s interest rate decision due on Wednesday, ahead of a key jobs report on Friday that could set the tone for market direction in the near-term.

“We are not expecting a lot from the Fed this week. Powell would likely reiterate his latest comments that the recent set of strong data would delay rate cuts,” Mohit Kumar, chief economist Europe at Jefferies, said in a note.

“Focus would also be on reducing the pace of (quantitative tightening).”

Money markets are pricing in just about 36 basis points (bps) of interest rate cuts this year, down from about 150 bps seen at the beginning of the year, according to LSEG.

At 05:43 a.m., Dow E-minis were up 42 points, or 0.11%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 7.75 points, or 0.15%, Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 40.75 points, or 0.23%.

Cryptocurrency-linked stocks fell premarket, tracking lower bitcoin prices. Crypto exchange Coinbase Global and crypto miners Riot Platforms and Marathon Digital were down between 2.6% and 3.1%.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)