Stock futures tread carefully following Fed comments

US equity futures traded cautiously on Thursday morning after details from last month’s Federal Reserve meeting showed that the central bank plans to be aggressive in fighting inflation.

The major futures indexes suggest a modest gain when the opening bell rings on Wall Street.

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The Fed comments have added to investor unease over the war in Ukraine, coronavirus outbreaks in China and persistent high inflation.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, April 6, 2022. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Reuters Photos)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added to those worries, pushing energy and commodity prices higher.

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 65 cents to $96.86 a barrel.

Brent futures added 84 cents to $101.91 a barrel.

Investors digested the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, in which policymakers signaled that surging inflation and an incredibly tight labor market could warrant a half-point interest rate hike at future meetings.

FED SIGNALS HALF-POINT INTEREST RATE HIKE ‘APPROPRIATE’ AT FUTURE MEETINGS

The minutes also reaffirmed Fed Governor Lael Brainard’s remarks on Tuesday that the central bank could start to reduce the balance sheet as early as May.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was at 2.56%. The yield rose to 2.61% after the release of the minutes, up from 2.54% late Tuesday.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed on Wednesday that it has purchased nearly 121 million shares of HP Inc. The investment gives Berkshire a roughly 11.4% stake in HP, worth about $4.2 billion. HP shares gained 15% in the premarket.

Weekly jobless claims are on Thursday’s economic docket. Expectations are for 200,000 to file for unemployment benefits, down slightly from 202,000 the previous week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are expected to 3.1 nudge higher to 1.01 million, up from a 52-year low of 1.07 million.

Bitcoin traded around $43,000.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index lost 1.7%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.2% and China’s Shanghai composite index shed 1.4%.

ticker Security Last change change %
I: DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34496.51 -144.67 -0.42%
SP500 S&P 500 4481.15 -43.97 -0.97%
I: COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13888.817124 -315.35 -2.22%

In the Wednesday session, the S&P 500 fell 1% to 4,481.15, adding to its losses from a day earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4% to 34,496.51 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 2.2% to 13,888.82.

Tech stocks were the biggest drag on the S&P 500 benchmark. Apple fell 1.8% and Microsoft shed 3.7%.

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Amazon fell 3.2% and Facebook parent Meta fell 3.7%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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