U.S. stock-index futures were little changed as investors weighed a rally earlier in the week and the impact of the Federal Reserve’s rate increase on global markets.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in March declined less than 0.1 percent to 2,023.5 at 10:55 a.m. in London, trimming a drop of as much as 0.6 percent. The equity gauge yesterday snapped its biggest three-day rally since October as crude slid and commodities deepened a drop, prompted by a stronger dollar in the wake of the rate rise. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts declined 36 points to 17,320.
The S&P 500’s drop yesterday erased Wednesday’s post-Fed gains and trimmed its biggest weekly advance in a month. The benchmark rebounded as much as 13 percent from an August low through November, before giving up 3.2 percent through yesterday. Stocks have fallen in December, bucking the historical seasonal trend of gains, and heading for their biggest annual drop since the 2008 financial crisis.
Investors will watch data for signs on the strength of the U.S. economy, with a report on December manufacturing and services due later today.
U.S. stocks struggled to add to the biggest rally in nearly a month, as a profit warning from UnitedHealth Group Inc. jolted the health-care sector while energy producers followed oil lower a day after the Federal Reserve eased concern that higher interest rates would derail economic growth.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 2,081.25 at 4 p.m. in New York, with the gauge trading in its tightest intraday range since May 22.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s October meeting released Wednesday indicated that policy makers believe the economy is strong enough to withstand higher rates as early as next month, while stressing that the pace of any tightening will be gradual. That message yesterday helped unleash a rally that sent the S&P 500 to within 2.3 percent of its May all-time high.
The gauge is up about 12 percent from the bottom of a summer selloff sparked by worries that a slowdown in China’s economy would spread. Caution over the impact of China’s weakness kept the Fed from raising rates in September.
The earnings season is drawing to a close, with 95 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported. Of those, 74 percent beat earnings estimates, while 44 percent exceeded sales forecasts. Analysts project profits for index members dropped 3.7 percent in the third quarter, compared with for a 7.2 percent decline at the start of the season.
Source : Bloomberg