U.S. stock futures opened mixed Tuesday evening after the major equity indexes slid during the regular trading day, as concerns over inflation and global economic growth stirred up further volatility across risk assets.
Contracts on the S&P 500 dipped. The index dropped 2.8% on Tuesday for its largest decline in seven weeks, with technology shares especially slammed. The Nasdaq Composite sank 4% to fall to 12,490.74 — its lowest level since December 2020. With just three trading days left in April, the S&P 500 is tracking toward a monthly decline of 7.8%.
A tepid quarterly earnings season pressed on, and the Big Tech companies that reported earnings after market close on Tuesday produced mixed results. Microsoft shares rose more than 5% in late trading after the company posted sales and earnings that exceeded estimates, fueled in part by further growth at its Azure cloud computing business. Alphabet, however, saw shares fall after posting a sharp deceleration in YouTube ad sales growth and missing on earnings, even as company-wide revenue came in-line with estimates. Peer ad-driven tech giant Meta Platforms is poised to report results Wednesday after market close.
The sell-off across U.S. stocks on Tuesday extended volatility seen so far in April and for the year-to-date, with investors continuing to monitor signs of elevated inflation and the further specter of supply chain strain as China grapples with an ongoing COVID-19 resurgence in key regions. And though the Federal Reserve is in a blackout period ahead of the central bank’s May meeting next week, investors have still kept prospects of tightening monetary policy at the top of their minds, with higher rates and borrowing costs poised to pressure high-growth company valuations.
“The wall of worry has been building, as it relates to Fed worries,” Matt Stucky, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management senior portfolio strategist, told Yahoo Finance Live on Tuesday. “Just a little over three months ago, the futures market was pricing in just three or four interest rate hikes for all of 2022. We’re quite a bit above that now. And markets are pricing in a federal funds policy rate at about 2.7% by year end. So that’s a significant amount of ratcheting up of Fed tightening that’s been building up throughout the year. And it’s one of the major reasons why we’ve seen volatility kick up as well.”
Given these myriad concerns, other analysts suggested investors brace for more choppiness in the near-term.
“There are some names deeply discounted but I do think there’s a little bit more to go on the discounts. So I would be cautious about entering the markets at this point,” Kathy Entwistle, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management managing director, told Yahoo Finance Live. “It’s impossible to call the bottom, so we do like to do a little bit of dollar cost averaging on the way in as well.”
“Supply chain has been an issue, we’ve had issues over in China, we’ve got inflation — these are all things we’ve known about and have been recurring,” she added. “But I think it’s all coming to a head right now and everybody’s at this point where it’s like there’s nowhere else to go. We know that [Fed] action is finally going to happen and that’s going to affect the markets.”
6:10 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open mixed
Here’s where stocks were trading Tuesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -4 points (-0.1%) to 4,166.5
Dow futures (YM=F): +40 points (+0.12%) to 33,200.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -41.50 points (-0.32%) to 12,974.50
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.
Read More: Stock futures open mixed after tech-led rout