Stock futures were mixed on Thursday as investors continued to react to Wednesday’s comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and sifted through a mixed set of earnings reports.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 8 points lower, or nearly flat. Nasdaq-100 and S&P-500 futures each rose 0.1%.
Salesforce shares fell 7% in premarket trading on news that co-CEO Bret Taylor is stepping down. Snowflake fell around 6% on light product revenue guidance.
On the other hand, Okta shot up nearly 16% after the identity management software company gave a positive full-year financial outlook. Five Below and Kroger rose about 9% and 3%, respectively, after reports that the companies beat expectations for their most recent quarters.
The moves followed a sharp rally on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P snapping three-day losing streaks after Powell appeared to confirm a tapering of central bank tightening — an issue that has lingered in recent weeks. The Dow jumped 737.24 points, or 2.2%, on Wednesday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 rose 4.4% and 3.1%, respectively.
“Whether intentional or not, Powell sent a message that, in light of the tightening already done, he is now more focused on the growth outlook and the employment picture than he is on getting inflation down to 2%,” said Chris Senyek. investment strategist at Wolfe Research.
Wednesday also marked the end of a winning month for the major averages. The Nasdaq rose 4.37% – its second consecutive positive month for the first time since a three-month streak that ended in December 2021. The S&P 500 and Dow rose 5.38% and 5.67%, respectively, to complete their second month of gains for first time since August 2021.
Investors’ focus on Thursday turns to initial jobless claims ahead of the much-anticipated November jobs report due on Friday. The wages report is expected to provide more clarity on the labor market, and whether it continues to cool. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated the economy added 200,000 jobs in November, down from 261,000 additions in October. They also expect the unemployment rate to remain stable from last month at 3.7%.
Data for personal income and personal consumption expenditure is also expected before the bell.