Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on April 21, 2023 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Stock futures ticked modestly higher early Friday morning.
S&P 500 futures inched up by 0.38%, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.37%. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 101 points, or 0.3%.
Investors received a fresh slate of corporate earnings, including Apple after Thursday’s close. The tech giant posted beats on the top and bottom lines for the fiscal second quarter, propelled by iPhone sales. Apple shares gained more than 2% in extended trading.
During the regular session on Thursday, the three major averages closed lower for the fourth consecutive day. The S&P 500 lost 0.72%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.49%. The Dow lost 286.50 points, or 0.86%. The 30-stock index also slipped into the red for 2023, down 0.06%. Renewed fears of contagion risk from the embattled regional bank sector drove the selloff and depressed investors’ sentiment.
The averages are also tracking for a week of losses — the worst performance for all three since March 10. The S&P 500 is off 2.6%, while the Nasdaq is off 2.1%. The Dow is down 2.8%.
Investors are nervous about the forward path of the Federal Reserve following policymakers’ 25 basis point rate hike on Wednesday.
“[With the] cost of capital going up in such a fast pace after we were at zero or 1% for so long, and then persisting at these higher levels, that’s just creating a whole suit of problems and we don’t exactly where the risk is gonna pop out,” JPMorgan Chase chief U.S. equity strategist Dubravko Lakos said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “The risk of ‘unknown unknowns’ is simply moving higher the longer we stay at the higher interest levels.”
He said that because it isn’t yet clear what Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s threshold is for raising rates — despite the risk of a recession if the central bank overtightens — investors are unlikely to see any consolation.
“I think once you get to the point where you start seeing signals that the Fed is definitely looking to cut and ease, and the regional bank side, the business model starts to make more sense, then I think you start getting some relief, but we’re not there,” Lakos said.
April’s payroll data, which includes the latest unemployment rate and information on wage growth, will provide the Fed another data point as it decides on the next step. The jobs report is out on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists predict that 180,000 jobs were added, according to Dow Jones.