By Ankika Biswas and Johann M Cherian
(Reuters) -U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, following a sell-off on Wall Street the previous session as the Federal Reserve dashed hopes for early rate cuts, shifting focus to economic data and Big Tech gains later planned for the day. .
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq on Wednesday posted their biggest one-day percentage declines since September and October, respectively, while the Dow Jones suffered its steepest decline in six weeks.
By keeping interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, the Fed reminded markets of its unflinching focus on fighting inflation and quashed speculation about a policy easing starting in March.
However, some market participants believe that cooling consumer prices and steady economic growth were more important than the timing of the first rate cut. Markets are still pricing in about 140 basis points of Fed cuts this year, compared to Fed projections of 75 basis points.
“We remain confident that inflation will be low enough to prompt the Fed to begin easing monetary policy at its March or May meeting,” said Preston Caldwell, chief U.S. economist at Morningstar Research Services LLC.
“We still forecast a total of 150 basis points of cuts in 2024 and the Federal Funds Rate to end the year at 3.75% – 4%.”
The focus shifts back to Big Tech gains, which would shed light on whether mega-cap stocks can sustain their recent rally fueled by artificial intelligence hype and hopes for early rate cuts.
Apple’s iPhone sales are expected to post their best growth in five quarters, but analysts see a tough year for the company in China, while investors will monitor whether Amazon.com…