United State stock index futures pointed to a market rebound on Friday, after the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial average registered a fourth-straight day of losses on Thursday.
Futures contracts tied to the Dow rose 173 points, or 0.5%. S&P 500 futures rebounded by 0.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.4%.
For the week, the Dow is down 1.4% and on pace for its second negative week in a row. The S&P 500 is off by about 0.9% for the week. September is historically a weak month for stocks and investors have continued to sell stocks consistently after a weak August jobs report a week ago Friday raised questions about the state of economic recovery amid the Covid resurgence. On Thursday, several airlines lowered their forecasts, citing weak travel demand because of the delta variant. The U.S. is averaging the same amount of new Covid cases as levels seen in January.
But stocks linked to the economic recovery were bouncing on Friday with airlines and energy stocks higher in premarket trading as investors bet maybe the fears are adequately priced in. Big cyclical plays like Boeing and FedEx were also higher in premarket trading. Boeing and FedEx added about 1% each. Southwest and American Airlines were also up about 1% apiece.
President Joe Biden stiffened his stance on getting Americans vaccinated on Thursday, outlining a plan to mandate Covid vaccines for millions. Federal employees will be required to get a Covid vaccine and the president is asking the U.S. Department of Labor to issue a rule that requires employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or require weekly testing.
“Ultimately, we see stocks finishing September strongly,” wrote Fundstrat’s Tom Lee in a note to clients late Thursday. “Delta variant organically looks to be slowing…White House plan really brings hammer to containing COVID-19.”
Wells Fargo shares jumped more than 2% after the bank said the CFPB consent order related to its 2016 sales practices has ended, removing an overhang on the stock.
Investors fear a situation where growth is slowing, but the Federal Reserve is having to take away stimulus because of rising inflation. The central bank kicks off a two-day meeting on Sept. 21, and the Street will be watching for an update on the Fed’s bond-buying program. On Thursday the European Central Bank left its monetary policy unchanged, but said that it will slow the pace of its asset-purchase program.
“The pace of policy changes will be gradual enough not to derail the economic recovery or the equity rally, while the differences between the more hawkish and more dovish central banks will create opportunities,” said Mark Haefele, UBS Global Wealth Management chief investment officer.
“We expect major central banks to remain supportive of growth, keeping rates lower for longer. This is positive for equity markets, particularly cyclical and value areas of the market,” he added.
During Thursday the Dow shed roughly 150 points, or 0.43%, while the S&P slid 0.46%. It was the fourth consecutive day of losses for each. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.25% for its second straight day of losses. It’s the first time since the middle of August that the tech-heavy index has registered back-to-back losses.
A better-than-expected weekly jobless claims number capped Thursday’s losses. The Labor Department said that first-time unemployment filings during the prior week dropped to 310,000, the lowest level since the pandemic took hold. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting a print of 335,000.
For the holiday-shortened week, the consumer discretionary sector is the best-performing S&P group, up about a quarter of one percent. The other ten sectors are all in the red. Industrial and real estate stocks are the biggest losers, with each sector down more than 2%.
Despite Thursday’s losses the major averages are still hovering around their all-time highs. The Dow is roughly 2% below its record, while the Nasdaq and S&P are about 1% from theirs.