Stock market news today: Futures whipsaw as Wall Street waits for key economic data

Feb 27, 2024
  • Stock futures whipsawed on Tuesday as Wall Street waited for a raft of important economic data.
  • S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow futures swung from red to green ahead of the opening bell.
  • GDP, inflation and jobs data, along with Fed comments, may signal where interest rates are headed.

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US stock futures whipsawed on Tuesday as investors awaited fresh economic data that could fuel or stall the market’s surge this year and hasten or delay the Federal Reserve’s eagerly anticipated first cut to interest rates.

S&P 500 futures swung from being down about 0.1% to being up the same amount shortly after 4:30 a.m. ET, after the benchmark stock index closed 0.4% lower on Monday.

Futures tied to the Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average also went from being marginally down to up as much as 0.2%.

The key 10-year Treasury yield was virtually flat at 4.26% — down significantly from its 52-week high of more than 5%, but still well above its sub-1% level in late 2020.

The US Dollar Index was down about 0.2% at 104 points, after trading as high as 113 points in October 2022, and as low as 90 points at the start of 2021.

Wall Street was looking forward to the release of new figures for durable goods and house prices, as well as comments from Michael Barr, the Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision.

GDP, inflation, unemployment, manufacturing, retail, and other data points will be revealed later this week, and several other Fed speakers are scheduled to speak.

On the earnings front, Lowe’s, eBay, and Coupang were among the companies set to report later.

“Favourable data — meaning resilient but not abnormally strong growth, coupled with softening inflation, would allow the market bulls to surf on the ‘Goldilocks’ wave. If that’s the case, we could see the stock market rally continue, and broaden to sectors other than the technology stocks,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a morning note.

“If growth is resilient, but inflation ticks higher in a way that’s concerning for the Federal Reserve’s expectations, we could see profit taking and a downside correction across major US indexes, and selling could spill over to the other major stock markets.”

Stocks have surged this year on hopes that fading inflation will free the Fed to slash interest rates after it hiked them from nearly zero to more than 5% in under 18 months.

Lower rates tend to boost spending, hiring, and investing and lower companies’ interest expenses, benefiting their earnings and stock prices. Rate cuts also reduce yields from bonds and savings accounts, making stocks more attractive by comparison.

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