Futures drift lower as focus shifts to rate verdict

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 4:59 AM

(Reuters) – Futures tracking Wall Street’s main indexes were subdued on Tuesday as investors refrained from placing big bets ahead of the interest rate decision at the end of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, with more earnings updates on tap.

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will commence its two-day meeting later in the day, with markets focused on the interest rate verdict and Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks.

Money markets are largely expecting the central bank to stay pat on interest rates this meeting, while pricing in just about 35 basis points (bps) of rate cuts this year, down from about 150 bps estimated at the start of the year, according to LSEG data.

“Although the world’s largest economy slowed more sharply than expected in the first three months of the year, key inflation readings show inflation remains stubborn and that’s dashed hopes for early and multiple rate cuts,” Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

“If interest rates do linger for a lot longer, it (raises) concerns about the growth prospects for the engine of the global economy.”

U.S. stocks ended higher on Monday, with sharp gains for Tesla and Apple.

Tesla shares were down 2.3% in premarket trading on Tuesday, following its 15% surge in the previous session after a report that CEO Elon Musk has dismissed two senior executives and plans to lay off hundreds more employees.

U.S. equities have had a rough April as persistent inflationary pressures sharply pulled back bets on interest rate cuts, while heightened tensions in the Middle East and earnings updates also added to the volatility.

All three U.S. stock indexes are poised to record their first monthly loss in six.

Also in focus is the quarterly earnings season, with companies such as Eli Lilly, Coca-Cola and 3M, among others, scheduled to report results before the opening bell.

At 05:32 a.m., Dow E-minis were down 28 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 E-minis were down 7 points, or 0.14%, and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 22.75 points, or 0.13%.

Coursera shed 12.7% premarket after the online learning platform forecast its full-year revenue below market estimates.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)