Stock futures added to losses Wednesday evening after a selloff during the regular session.
Each of the three major indexes dropped by the most in three months, after the Federal Open Market Committee issued a January monetary policy statement that pointed to moderating growth in the virus-stricken economy. Still, the central bank reiterated its commitment to keeping interest rates low and asset purchases robust as the economy weathers the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a positive from the standpoint of reinforcing the dovishness of the Fed that they indicated that economic growth and activity is moderating,” Tony Rodriguez, Nuveen head of fixed income, told Yahoo Finance of the Fed’s statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference. “Acknowledging that reinforces the idea that they’re going to be very patient, certainly with the policy rate, but also from the standpoint of quantitive easing, balance sheet growth and the talk of a taper. That is definitely not a 2021 conversation that they are willing or expecting to have.”
Further data on the strength of the U.S. economy will be in focus on Thursday, with the first estimate of fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) and another report on weekly unemployment claims due for release. GDP likely grew for a second straight quarter in the final three months of 2020, albeit with slowing momentum heading into the new year, largely as a result of a still-weak labor market. Weekly jobless claims will likely pull back from the prior week’s elevated levels, but hold close to a historically high 900,000.
Earnings season has also been chugging along, and shares of some heavily weighted companies that reported results after the closing bell on Wednesday dipped after market close. Tesla’s (TSLA) stock dropped more than 2% after the company posted profit that fell short of estimates, though revenue hit a quarterly record of more than $10 billion. Apple’s (AAPL) stock fell after CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s earnings call that he expected a second-quarter deceleration in wearables and services sales growth, overshadowing fiscal first-quarter revenue and earnings that topped expectations. Facebook (FB) shares fluctuated between gains and losses after topping user growth, sales and profit estimates, though the company warned about “significant uncertainty” over the ad environment in 2021 amid the pandemic.
Shares of some of the heavily shorted stocks that had been rocketing higher over the last several sessions gave back some gains in late trading, but still held sharply higher on the week. GameStop (GME) more than doubled on Wednesday before dipping slightly in late trading. Shares of AMC (AMC) sank more than 25% after-hours, following an extraordinary run-up of 300% during the regular trading day. BlackBerry (BB), Express (EXPR) and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) – also darlings of Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets forum as of late – dipped in late trading.
“This will work until it doesn’t,” Jeff Sherman, DoubleLine Capital chief investment officer, told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. “It’s this concentrated fervor that’s going into single names, and so I don’t think it has ramifications for the broad market. But this is exactly what we talk about when we talk about blow-off tops in market, euphoria.”
6:03 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open lower
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:03 p.m. ET Wednesday
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,735.5, down 8.75 points or 0.23%
Dow futures (YM=F): 30,189.00, flat
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,046.75, down 58.75 points or 0.45%
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