Stock futures mixed while investors consider the Omicron effect

Stock futures were mixed Thursday morning after a fall a day earlier, with investors assessing the latest headlines about the Omicron variant and considering persistent concerns about inflation.

Contracts on each of the S&P 500 and Dow traded higher, while the Nasdaq was flat to slightly negative. The three major indices fell during the general trading day on Wednesday, after the Centers for Disease Control and Protection announced that the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant had been identified in the US. More than two dozen countries globally have so far found at least one confirmed case of the variant, first identified last week.

The latest updates on the virus front have come on top of traders’ continued concerns about rising prices. Monetary policy makers have also highlighted these persistent inflationary trends and raised concerns that the Federal Reserve may soon turn away from its accommodative policies that had helped support markets throughout the pandemic. In it Federal Reserves December beige book, or collection of anecdotes about economic conditions throughout the Fed districts, the central bank said, noting that “Prices rose at a moderate to robust pace, with price increases widespread across sectors of the economy.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also told lawmakers this week that he thought it would be appropriate for monetary policy makers to consider ending their downsizing process for buying assets faster than previously telegraphed, or potentially by the middle of next year. It has again raised the specter that interest rate hikes could also come faster than previously expected after the end of the Fed’s downsizing process.

According to a number of strategists, inflation – as well as politicians’ reaction to inflation – will ultimately be one of the driving forces for the market in the future.

“In the very short term, the biggest threat is headlines related to the virus,” Niladri Mukherjee, head of Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank’s CIO portfolio strategy, told Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday. “But when we enter 2022, inflation is the biggest risk for the markets as a whole. Inflation looks terribly persistent. It’s clear we had a 6-7 month CPI [the Consumer Price Index] printing over 5%, now 6%. I would not be surprised to see even higher pressures in January, February, especially if the variant actually leads to further closures. ”

8:37 ET: The number of unemployed rises slightly after setting a low of 52 years

New weekly unemployment applications rose for the first time in eight weeks for the period ending November 27, but still reached pre-pandemic levels.

The Department of Labor said Thursday that weekly unemployment claims were 222,000 for the week ending Nov. 27. This followed 194,000 claims from the previous week, representing the lowest level since 1969, and was revised down even more from the 199,000 previously reported. Consensus economists expected new requirements totaling 240,000 for the week ending Nov. 27.

Continued claims, which measure the total number of people still claiming benefits across regular state programs, totaled $ 1.956 million for the week ending Nov. 20. This figure fell more than expected and reached its lowest level since March 2020.

7:52 ET: Stock futures mixed

Here is where the markets traded Thursday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES = F): +3 points (+ 0.07%), to 4,511,50

  • Dow futures (ÅM = F): +117 points (+ 0.34%), to 34,119.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ = F) -53.75 points (-0.34%) to 15,816.00

  • raw (CL = F): – $ 0.17 (-0.26%) to $ 65.40 pr. barrel

  • gold (GC = F): $ -2.20 (-0.12%) to $ 1,782.10 per share. ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^ TNX): -1.5 bps to give 1.419%

18:31 ET Wednesday: Stock futures recover some losses

Here were the main movements in the markets during the night’s session:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES = F): +8.75 points (+ 0.19%), to 4,517.25

  • Dow futures (ÅM = F): +85 points (+ 0.25%) to 34,087.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ = F): +39.75 points (+ 0.25%) to 15,909.5

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the start of trading on Monday after Friday's sharp fall in global equities due to fears of the new omicron Covid variant discovered in South Africa on 29. November 2021 in New York City.  Shares rose in the morning trading as investors get more data on the new variant and report that the symptoms so far have been mild for those who have received it.  (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 29: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at the start of trading on Monday after Friday’s steep fall in global equities due to fears of the new omicron Covid variant discovered in South Africa on November 29, 2021 in New York City. Shares rose in the morning trading as investors get more data on the new variant and report that the symptoms so far have been mild for those who have received it. (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

Give a Comment