U.S. stock futures ticked up on Monday after a brutal day for markets in earlier trading, ignited by renewed investor fears that swelling Omicron case numbers could derail economic recovery and worsen inflationary pressures.
Contracts on the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq turned green, creeping up declines in the daytime session. Futures for the Dow Industrial Average were up 102 points headed into overnight training, while the S&P and Nasdaq also changed course following drops of nearly 2% each for all three indexes at close.
“We’re seeing broad-based sell-off in risk assets, but ultimately if we think about the longer arc of time, I’m not sure these are going to meaningfully change our outlook for 2022 in terms of investing,” Meera Pandit, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management told Yahoo Finance Live.
“On the virus side, ultimately what we’ve seen with prior surges and prior variants is that market sell-offs tend to be somewhat contained to a period of time, so we do expect that as we get better and better at dealing with some of these challenges from the economic and market perspective, things will likely settle down despite some of the public health challenges we have ahead.”
With virus fears triggering more restrictions and cancellations, concerns around Omicron’s spread weigh on traders still reeling from the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift last week to more quickly withdraw monetary support and boost forecasts for rate hikes next year.
To add to their plate, investors are also processing an unexpected blow to President Joe Biden’s economic agenda after Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) quashed the administration’s long-deliberated Build Back Better Act, citing concerns about inflation, the national debt and ongoing pandemic in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
The news sent solar energy and electric vehicle stocks plummeting in a sell-off that placed Tesla (TSLA) below $900 for the first time since October. The stock closed down 3.5% at $899.94.
“When we think about Build Back Better, we are likely to face a fiscal cliff regardless last year with less fiscal spending than we’ve seen over the last two years,” Pandit also told Yahoo Finance Live. “But the Build Back Better bill was expected to be phased in over a number of years, so while it will be somewhat of a headwind for growth, I think it’s right now very much an indication of sentiment more than anything.”
Even with a holiday-shortened week of trading, investors are tuning into a packed economic release schedule. The Conference Board is set to release its latest consumer confidence index on Wednesday, expected to show an only modest uptick for the month of December.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis will also publish fresh prints on Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Thursday, a key measure of price changes in the economy. Consensus data compiled by Bloomberg showed PCE is projected to climb at a 0.6% month-over-month rate in November.
The new inflation data will be a central focus among investors in the coming days.
“There’s a number of headwinds coming at us now,” Oxbow Advisors managing partner Ted Oakley told Yahoo Finance Live. He said investors are pricing in “peak hawkishness” from the Federal Reserve and inflation.
“Lastly, you just had such a speculative market that it’s easy for it to start getting some selling,” he added.
6:00 p.m. Monday ET: Futures contracts sink
Here were the main moves in markets in late trading on TK:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 13.75 points (+0.30%), to 4,572.25
Dow futures (YM=F): 102 points (+0.29%), to 34,915.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 69.75points (+0.45%) to 15,691.00
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc