Stock futures mixed as economic data rolls in

U.S. stock futures struggled to find their way Thursday morning as investors pored over a batch of economic data.

Futures tied to the benchmark S&P 500 slipped 0.1%, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average swung by the same range. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3%. The moves come after a modest rebound on Wednesday after the stock market’s worst day since June 2020.

Initial jobless claims fell for a fifth consecutive week to the lowest level since May. First-time jobless claims totaled 213,000 in the week ended Sept. 10, up from 222,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists have called for 227,000 claims, according to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

On the bond side, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury rose above 3.45%, and the 2-year Treasury tipped past 3.8% after hitting a 15-year high. on the heels of shocking August inflation data earlier this week.

Last month’s consumer price index (CPI) showed prices rose more than expected by 8.3% from a year earlier, triggering a crash in US stock markets as investors faced the reality that more aggressive central bank policy will be needed to bring inflation under control.

Bank of America economists said in a note Wednesday that Federal Reserve officials would likely warn market participants that the risks of a hard landing were rising after their policy-setting meeting next week.

“This will likely result in projections that show less growth, higher unemployment and more restrictive rate policy,” said BofA strategists led by Michael Gapen. “While the Fed is still likely to view a soft landing as a modal outcome, the window appears to be shrinking.”

Market information is reflected in a trader’s glasses as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 13, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

The CME FedWatch tool on Thursday morning showed that markets were pricing in a nearly 30% chance that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by a full percentage point next week as inflation shows signs of entrenching in the American economy.

Cryptocurrency markets were in the fore on Thursday after Ethereum completed its much-anticipated “merger.” a technological shift to a more energy-efficient method of how tokens are minted. Ethereum USD (ETH-USD) was trading just under $1,600 on Thursday morning, while Bitcoin (BTC-USD) held above $21,000.

Meanwhile, oil prices fell, continuing a period of volatility for energy markets. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil fell 1.6% to $87.06 a barrel, erasing Wednesday’s gain, while Brent crude oil futures fell 1.5% to 92 $.67 a barrel.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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