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Futures Pointing To Sharply Lower Open On Wall Street

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April 25 2024 9:09AM

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a sharply lower open on Thursday, with stocks likely to come under pressure following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session.

A negative reaction to earnings news from Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) is likely to weigh on Wall Street, as the Facebook parent is plunging by 15.5 percent in pre-market trading.

Meta Platforms reported first quarter results that beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines but provided disappointing second quarter revenue guidance.

Tech giant IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is also likely to come under pressure after reporting weaker than expected first quarter revenues. IBM also announced a deal to acquire HashiCorp (NASDAQ:HCP) for $35 per share in cash, representing an enterprise value of $6.4 billion.

On the other hand, fellow Dow components Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON) are seeing pre-market strength after reporting first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates.

The futures saw further downside following the release of a Commerce Department report showing the U.S. economy grew by much less than expected in the first quarter of 2024.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product increased by 1.6 percent in the first quarter after surging by 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023. Economists had expected GDP to jump by 2.5 percent.

The notable slowdown in GDP growth primarily reflected decelerations in consumer spending, exports, and state and local government spending and a downturn in federal government spending.

Stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday following the strong upward move seen to start the week. After moving to the upside early in the session, the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day narrowly mixed. While the Dow edged down 42.77 points or 0.1 percent to 38,460.92, the S&P 500 crept up 1.08 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,071.63 and the Nasdaq inched up 16.11 points or 0.1 percent to 15,712.75.

A positive reaction to the latest corporate earnings news initially contributed to an extended rebound on Wall Street following the considerable weakness seen last week.

Shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) spiked by 12.1 percent even though the electric vehicle maker reported weaker than expected first quarter results.

The surge by Tesla came after CEO Elon Musk said the company plans to start production of a new affordable model by early 2025.

Semiconductor company Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) also saw significant strength after reporting first quarter results that beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

Shares of Visa (NYSE:V) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) also moved to the upside after the companies reported better than expected quarterly results.

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, with traders still worried about the outlook for interest rates ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will be looking for clues about the possibility of future rate cuts.

Later this week, the Commerce Department is due to release a report on personal income and spending that includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Fed.

Traders may also have been reluctant to make significant moves ahead of more big-name tech earnings in the coming days.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods surged by more than expected in the month of March.

The report said durable goods orders soared by 2.6 percent in March after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in February.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 2.3 percent compared to the 1.3 percent jump that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding a surge in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders crept up by 0.2 percent in March after inching up by 0.1 percent in February. Ex-transportation orders were expected to rise by 0.3 percent.

Transportation stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Transportation Average down by 2.3 percent.

Considerable weakness was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent loss posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Pharmaceutical and retail stocks also saw some weakness, while semiconductor stocks turned in a strong performance following the upbeat results from Texas Instruments.

Reflecting the strength in the semiconductor sector, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbed by 1.1 percent on the day.