Stock futures held steady in overnight trading Sunday after the S&P 500 notched its best week since February at a fresh record close, rebounding from a big sell-off triggered by fears of the omicron coronavirus variant.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 35 points higher. S&P 500 futures inched up 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.
The overnight action followed a strong week on Wall Street as investors shrugged off a hot inflation reading. The blue-chip Dow gained 4% last week, breaking a four-week losing streak with its best weekly performance since March. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively, last week, both posting their best weekly performance since early February.
Investors digested a jump in headline inflation data, which came in at 6.8% in November year-over-year for the biggest surge since 1982. The print was marginally higher than the 6.7% Dow Jones estimate.
“The fact is that inflation is likely to remain on the higher side for a while and risks of sticky inflation remain, although we believe that the passing of base effects and the easing of supply chain constraints by the end of the first quarter of next year should slowly bring inflation down to more comfortable levels,” Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income, said in a note.
The key inflation reading came ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting this week where the policymakers are expected to discuss speeding up the end of its bond-buying program.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell, as well as a parade of Fed speakers, all recently suggested the central bank could end the $120 billion monthly bond purchase program sooner than the current timeline of June 2022.
“We think strong economic growth, labor market recovery and elevated inflation has clearly moved the Fed toward an accelerated focus on shifting policy and particularly in getting quantitative easing over with,” Rieder said.
Stocks bounced back last week as investors bet that the initial worry about the Covid strain is overblown. Many also took solace in the news from Pfizer and BioNTech that a study found three doses of their vaccine provides a high level of protection against the variant.
As of Sunday, the U.S. was approaching 800,000 coronavirus-related deaths. The new variant has pushed some government officials to reinstate health restrictions to slow the spread.