Stock futures rise slightly as Wall Street awaits Fed rate hike, Ukraine developments

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, March 14, 2022.
Source: NYSE

U.S. stock futures rose slightly on Monday night as investors continue to monitor developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and get ready for a key Federal Reserve policy decision.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose by 52 points, or 0.16%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq
100 futures climbed 0.21% and 0.30%, respectively.

Earlier in the day, the S&P 500 declined 0.7%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 2%. Both finished their seventh negative session in the past eight. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished flat after climbing as much as 450 points earlier in the day.

Investors watched the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as both countries started a fresh round of ceasefire talks on Monday. A Ukrainian official said the country is asking for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.

Meanwhile, officials from the United States and China met on Monday to discuss a range of challenges facing their bilateral relationship, including Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

The financial fallout of stiff Russian sanctions will come into sharper focus in the coming days ahead of a scheduled sovereign bond payment.

“The market is jittery,” said Gene Goldman, chief investment officer at Cetera Investment Management. “So much concern about the Russian invasion, inflation, and the Fed. With growing concerns of a bear market, investors have been skittish.”

Still, he said he doesn’t feel a bear market is in the cards, saying, “A pullback/correction becomes a bear market if a recession is likely. Fundamental data (labor, construction spending, PMIs, etc.) all support a solid economic base.”

Investors are anticipating an important rate hike from the Fed, after the central bank commences a two-day session on Wednesday that will signal a tightening of monetary policy. The central bank is widely expected to raise its target fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point from zero.

There also will be adjustments to the economic outlook, projections for the future path of rates, and likely a discussion about when the Fed can start reducing its bond portfolio holdings.

Sophie Tremblay

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