Stock Futures Simmer Ahead of Closely Watched Fed Update

All eyes are on the Federal Reserves interest rate decision this afternoon

Deputy Editor
Mar 17, 2021 at 9:24 AM
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Stock futures are eyeing another mixed morning as investors await this afternoon's Federal Reserve interest rate decision with bated breath. Before the open, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are pointed roughly 37 points higher, while futures on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are sitting in a shallow pool of red ink, and the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) is down triple digits. The 10-year Treasury yield is still on the rise, last seen at a 13-month high of 1.67%, while the 30-year rate rose to its highest level since November 2019 -- clocking in at 2.428%. 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • This underperforming retailer may be ready to roar higher.
  • Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White tests the performance of stocks that gained while the SPX fell. 
  • Plus, LEN says interest rates haven't effected home demand; MU dips after facility sale; and CRWD shares sunny current-quarter outlook. 

futures chartmarch 17

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw more than 1.74 million call contracts traded on Tuesday, and 750,521 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.43 and the 21-day moving average held at 0.45.
  2. The shares of Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) are off 0.2% ahead of the bell, despite a fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue beat. LEN said low interest rates and high demand for home buying during the pandemic, adding that this demand remains strong despite the recent spike in interest rates. 
  3. Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) is down 1.5% before the open, after the company announced plans to sell its Utah semiconductor factory that produced its 3D Xpoint memory chip, due to weak customer demand. 
  4. Crowdstrike Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CRWD), meanwhile, is surging after a fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat. The company also posted a sunny current-quarter forecast, sending shares up 2.3% before the bell, set to open at their highest level on record. 
  5. The latest interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve will be the highlight of the day, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell set to give a press conference at  2:30 p.m. ET. Housing starts, building permits, and crude oil inventories are also on the docket. 

OV Buzz Chart March 17

Overseas Markets Stumble as Investors Eye U.S. Rate Decision

Stocks in Asia finished Wednesday mostly lower, as investors eye the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting scheduled to wrap up later today. If post-meeting comments are not dovish enough, U.S. bond yields and the dollar could rise, which may dampen investor sentiment. As a result, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng marginally rose while Japan’s Nikkei marginally fell. China’s Shanghai Composite erased earlier gains to finish slightly lower as well. Rounding out the region, South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6%.

European markets are also lower this afternoon, for much of the same reasons as their Asian counterparts. In addition, the suspension of AstraZeneca’s (AZN) Covid-19 vaccine has some investors worried about a potentially delayed economic recovery. At last check, the German DAX is fractionally off, France’s CAC 40 is 0.3% lower, and London’s FTSE 100 is down 0.6%.

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