A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Edge Lower Following Wednesday's Fed Rate Hike

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded lower in early pre-market trade after the Federal Reserve raised its target fed funds rate by 0.25%, its first interest rate hike since 2018. Investors are awaiting earnings results from Dollar General Corporation DG, FedEx Corporation FDX and Accenture plc ACN.

Data on housing starts, permits, initial jobless claims and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Data on industrial production for February will be released at 9:15 a.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 58 points to 34,001.00 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures fell 11 points to 4,347.00. Futures for the Nasdaq index fell 40.75 points to 13,912.25.

Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures rose 4.2% to trade at $102.17 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures rose 4.3% to trade at $99.15 a barrel. US crude oil inventories climbed 4.3 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on natural gas stocks in underground storage is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, with total infections in the country exceeding 81,289,600 with around 994,730 deaths. India reported a total of at least 43,001,470 confirmed cases, while Brazil confirmed over 29,478,030 cases.

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A Peek Into Global Markets

European markets were mostly lower today. The STOXX Europe 600 Index climbed 0.1%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 Index fell 0.2% and London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1%. The French CAC 40 Index slipped 0.1%, while German DAX fell 0.4%. Spanish trade deficit widened to €6.1 billion in January from €1.8 billion in the year-ago month. Passenger car sales in the European Union fell 6.7% year-over-year to 719,465 in February

Asian markets traded higher today. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 3.46%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 7.04% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1%, while India’s BSE SENSEX rose 1.8%. Hong Kong raised its base rate by 25 basis points. Australia's new home sales dropped by 7% in February, while unemployment rate fell to 4.0% in February from January's figure of 4.2%. Private-sector machinery orders in Japan dropped by 2% in January.

Broker Recommendation

RBC Capital downgraded Union Pacific Corporation UNP from Outperform to Sector Perform and lowered the price target from $271 to $258.

Union Pacific shares fell 0.5% to $262.75 in pre-market trading.

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Breaking News

  • Guess?, Inc. GES reported weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter and announced plans to enter into $175 million accelerated buyback plan. The company also named Dennis Secor as CFO.
  • Tesla Inc TSLA on Thursday hiked the prices for its entry-level Model Y sports utility vehicle in China, CnEVpost reported on Thursday, citing the company’s website.
  • Williams-Sonoma, Inc. WSM reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter and announced a $1.5 billion stock buyback. The company also raised its quarterly dividend.
  • Airbus SE EADSY is interested in taking over the cybersecurity business of French software company Atos AEXAY, Reuters reported citing France's BFM TV.

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