Stock futures fall as S&P 500 tries to notch its best week since November 2020

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, March 17, 2022.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Stock futures dipped in overnight trading Thursday after a three-day rally for the S&P 500 as the equity benchmark is poised to post its biggest weekly gain in more than a year.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 120 points. S&P 500 futures were down 0.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.3% lower.

Stocks enjoyed a relief rally this week as the Federal Reserve’s decision to tighten policy largely met investor expectations. The S&P 500 has gained for three consecutive days this week, up 4.9%, on track for its best week since November 2020.

The blue-chip Dow is coming off a four-day winning streak, rising 4.7% for the week so far, and is also on pace for its biggest weekly gain since November 2020. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up 6% this week, headed for its best week since February 2021.

Earlier this week, the central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2018 and signaled six more hikes this year.

“Fortunately, investor expectations for inflation over the next five years was brought down quite a bit, which, if sustained, will continue [to] be helpful for the Fed and the markets despite somewhat higher interest rates,” said John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management.

Investors continue to monitor news out of Ukraine and Russia as the war rages on. Russian attacks across Ukraine have resulted in numerous civilian deaths over the past day, Ukrainian officials said.

Russia was able to pay coupons on its sovereign bonds to some creditors, Reuters reported, citing sources. While uncertainty still persists, Russia may have been able to avoid a historic debt default for the time being.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, jumped more than 8% and bounced back above $100 per barrel.

Shares of FedEx fell more than 1% in after-hours trading after the U.S. delivery firm posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit amid labor shortages, while the pandemic also hurt its holiday revenue growth.

GameStop saw its shares dropping 10% in extended trading after the video game retailer reported an unexpected loss during the holiday quarter. The company said it will launch a new marketplace for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, by the end of April.

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