Wall Street stock futures edged higher on Friday, but were poised for weekly losses having sold off after the Federal Reserve signaled that interest rates will stay higher for longer.
S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures gained about 0.3%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) ticked up 0.1%. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 were up around 0.5%, after all three major gauges closed Thursday with hefty declines.
Markets turned wary as they assessed the impact on consumer and business demand from the Fed’s message that it would keep borrowing costs high to quell inflation. The central bank’s chair, Jerome Powell, also did little to bolster hopes the US economy would avoid recession.
But stocks now appear to be finding a footing, with the S&P 500 on track to rise after logging its worst day since March in the previous session. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury steadied after hitting its highest level in over 15 years on Thursday.
Updates on September US manufacturing and services activity from S&P Global due later will provide fuel for the still-hot debate over whether the Fed can achieve a “soft landing” for the economy.
Elsewhere in central banks, the Bank of Japan held to its ultra-low interest rates on Friday and maintained its pledge to support the economy, suggesting no shift in its massive stimulus program is coming. The yen dropped against the dollar after the decision.
In individual stocks, shares in Activision Blizzard (ATVI) rose to close in on Microsoft’s (MSFT) offer price, after the UK antitrust regulator said the door is open for the $69 billion acquisition to go ahead.
Also in focus were the strikes that have buffeted the auto sector and Hollywood. The UAW has threatened to ratchet up walkouts in its intensifying strike against GM (GM), Ford (F) and Jeep parent Stellantis (STLA), with Friday as a deadline. And despite a marathon session of negotiations, the big four studios — Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), Disney (DIS), Netflix (NFLX) and NBCUniversal — failed to reach a deal with striking writers.
Stocks point higher after Fed-fueled selloff
The major US stock benchmarks moved tentatively higher before the open on Friday, on track for a losing week after logging sharp declines amid hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve.