U.S. stock index futures were mostly down slightly Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow were bouncing rose 30 points. S&P 500 futures lost 0.3%. Nasdaq 100 futures shed about 0.8% as tech stocks came under pressure again. Shares of Tesla and Facebook fell in premarket trading.
Better-than-expected economic data out Thursday helped support sentiment. First-time jobless claims totaled 730,000 for the week ended Feb. 20, versus a print of 845,000 expected by economists polled by Dow Jones. Meanwhile, durable goods orders increased by 3.4% in January, compared to a Dow Jones consensus of a 1.0% growth.
Investors continued to keep an eye on the rise in bond yields, which weighed on stocks recently. The 10-year Treasury yield topped 1.46% Thursday, hitting its highest level since February 2020. The benchmark rate has risen 35 basis points this month, inching close to the S&P 500’s dividend yield of 1.47%. Higher rates could make equities less attractive, while hitting the growth-oriented technology sector especially hard.
“Our base case is that rates will continue to rise due to increasing growth and inflation expectations and, eventually, Federal Reserve normalization,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. “We also believe if rates move too high too fast, the Fed will intervene to make sure rising rates don’t become too restrictive and disrupt equity markets or the real economy.”
Some traders looked past the moves in the bond market after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell emphasized the central bank’s commitment to easy policy and downplayed the risk of inflation, saying it could take three years or more before the Fed’s goals are reached.
On Wednesday, the Dow jumped 425 points to close at a record high in a volatile session that at one point saw the 30-stock average drop more than 110 points. The S&P 500 advanced 1.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite wiped out a 1.3% loss to close 1% higher.
“It seems pretty clear to us that the move in rates has been driven by growing optimism about economic growth, and rates are finally ‘catching up’ to the bullish growth outlook in equities,” said David Lefkowitz, head of equities Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management. “So equity investors should not be overly concerned.”
GameStop, the controversial meme stock whose massive short squeeze shocked Wall Street last month, is on the rise again. Shares were up more than 50% in premarket trading after doubling in the previous session on the reported ousting of a chief executive.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.