U.S. equity markets were subdued early Tuesday, with stock futures modestly higher as investors focused on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate plans and COVID outbreaks in China.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 () nudged up 0.2%, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average () advanced by roughly the same margin, or 60 points. Contracts on the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite () were near breakeven.
Wall Street is awaiting remarks from Federal Reserve presidents Loretta Mester and James Bullard on Tuesday for further clues on the the U.S. central bank’s next policy moves.
On Monday, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President the U.S. central bank’s key policy rate above 5% if inflation does not ease. Daly also noted that writing off a 75-basis-point hike in December is “premature,” and “nothing is off the table.”
In commodities markets, oil pared Monday’s losses after plunging to January lows on fears that fresh lockdowns in China and a reported output increase by Saudia Arabia and OPEC may weigh on demand. Energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has since refuted the prospect of an increase in production, helping oil climb back from declines. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose to around $81 per barrel after hitting $75 per barrel on Monday.
On the corporate side, shares of Zoom Video Communications () dropped nearly 10% pre-market after the the video-conferencing platform and projected further challenges posed by waning demand for online meetings.
A steep climb in COVID cases across China has set off a wave of new restrictions for the world’s largest economy just weeks after investors cheered the end of aggressive lockdowns in the country.
‘’The specter of COVID is still hovering over the Chinese economy, threatening to cause fresh snarl ups for supply chains and demand for goods,” Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said in a note Tuesday.
The S&P 500 has started the holiday-shortened Thanksgiving week lower compared to previous years. According to data from Bespoke Investment Group, the Monday of Thanksgiving week has historically seen the index trade slightly lower, with a decline of 0.01%. In years when the index has been down 10% year-to-date or more, like in 2022, performance has been more positive, with an average 0.37% gain.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Iheart Finance. Follow her on Twitter
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