Stock futures rise after Dow turns negative for the year

You want to be involved in materials, energy and healthcare, says Fundstrat's Mark Newton

Stock futures ticked higher early Friday morning as investors tried to hang on to the January rally amid worries about monetary policy and declining earnings.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45 points, or 0.14%. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 rose by 0.24% and 0.43% respectively. Nordstrom fell more than 5% in after-hours trading after reporting weak holiday sales and cutting its full-year forecast. Netflix jumped 7% after reporting more subscribers than expected, though quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

During Thursday’s session, both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed lower to hit their third consecutive negative days as corporate earnings and financial data signaled a slowing economy. The Dow fell more than 252 points, or 0.76%, and is now down 0.31% year to date. The S&P 500 fell 0.76% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.96%, but both indexes are positive for the year.

For the week, however, all three indices are on course to close lower. The Dow is down 3.67%, heading for its worst week since September. The S&P 500 is down more than 2.5% and may have its worst weekly performance since December. The Nasdaq is down more than 2% and is about to snap a two-week winning streak.

“The market is focused and not sure how to react between the backward-looking Fed analysis of the market versus the forward-looking and leading indicators of the market,” Tim Seymour, founder and chief investment officer of Seymour Asset Management, said on CNBC’s “Fast.” Money.”

These future indicators include economic data such as retail sales and industrial production. “This is where the market starts to break down,” he said.

Going forward, investors will continue to watch the company’s earnings with the oilfield service name SLB and Ally Financial, which will report on Friday. They will also listen closely to speeches from Fed officials ahead of the central bank’s February meeting, looking for clues about the size of the rate hike likely to come.

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