Futures jump as stocks aim for a rebound

Stock futures jumped Wednesday morning after sliding a day earlier, as investors weighed optimism over widespread post-pandemic business reopenings against concerns over economic overheating.

Contracts on the S&P 500 ticked up. Nasdaq futures outperformed ahead of the opening bell after the index closed lower by 1.7% on Tuesday with technology stocks lagging amid a rotation to cyclical shares poised to benefit from easing stay-in-place orders. Airlines, cruse lines and hotel stocks increased on Tuesday, and extended gains during early trading. 

Elsewhere, shares of online mortgage provider Rocket Companies (RKT) pulled back during the pre-market session. The stock surged 71% to a record high on Tuesday and triggered a volatility halt after investors on Reddit appeared to target the heavily shorted stock as another short-squeeze candidate. 

Investors this week have fixed their gaze on the next several months, when vaccine-enabled reopenings will help boost service-centric companies that had been heavily beaten down last year. President Joe Biden said that the U.S. now expects to have enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults who want one by the end of May, pulling forward that target by two full months from the government’s previous forecast. The drugmaker Merck (MRK) is set to help produce Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) single-dose COVID-19 vaccine that was authorized over this past weekend, which would help speed the pace of inoculations in the U.S.

Plus, the U.S. Senate is debating the contours of another stimulus package worth up to $1.9 trillion this week, with congressional lawmakers racing to pass another relief bill before a mid-March cliff for federal unemployment benefits authorized under the last package.

At the same time, the likelihood of increased government spending alongside widespread business reopenings has raised the specter of both speedy growth in the U.S. economy, but also rising inflationary pressures. And last week’s jump in Treasury yields – with the benchmark 10-year yield reaching a one-year high of 1.61% – remains fresh in the minds of investors, who have been eyeing the rise in interest rates as a possible hindrance to the recovery and deviation from last year’s ultra-low borrowing costs backdrop.

“One of the fundamental underpinnings of strong equity performance the last six to nine months has been very low yields. And yields are not as low today as they were just a few weeks ago,” Eric Winograd AllianceBernstein senior economist, told Yahoo Finance. “When we think about how that yield move will play out, the bond market takes a staircase up. You get sharp moves up and then a period when it moves sideways and consolidates, and then another sharp move higher. So I think we should expect that basic pattern to repeat a handful of additional times over the course of the next few quarters.”

7:12 a.m. ET: Stock futures aim for a rebound 

Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,892.25, up 24.75 points or 0.64%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 31,578.00, up 220.00 points or 0.7%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,151.50, up 96.25 points or 0.74%

  • Crude (CL=F): $60.82 per barrel, +$1.07 (+1.79%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,722.70 per ounce, -$10.90 (-0.63%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.1 bps to yield 1.446%

7:05 a.m. ET Wednesday: Mortgage applications increased only slightly last week as rates jumped 

Mortgage applications were nearly unchanged last week as rising mortgage rates deterred purchases and refinances after a surge in housing market activity in 2020.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s weekly index trading mortgage application volume rose just 0.5% during the week ended February 26 from the prior week. This followed a slump of 11.4% in mortgage application volume during the prior week. Refinances increased by 0.1% week-over-week but were still 7% higher than a year earlier. Purchases rose by 2% over the previous week and were 5% higher year-over-year, on an unadjusted basis. 

“Mortgage rates jumped last week on market expectations of stronger economic growth and higher inflation. The 30-year fixed rate experienced its largest single-week increase in almost a year, reaching 3.23 percent – the highest since July 2020,” said Joel Kan, MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a press statement. 

Still, he added, “The housing market is entering the busy spring buying season with strong demand.”

6:08 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open slightly higher

Here’s where markets were trading Monday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,873.00, up 5.5 points or 0.14%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 31,414.00, up 56.00 points or 0.18%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,080.50, up 25.25 points or 0.19%

NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 29: New York Stock Exchange building is seen at the Financial District in New York City, United States on March 29, 2020. New York is ranked as one of the largest International Financial Centres (

NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 29: New York Stock Exchange building is seen at the Financial District in New York City, United States on March 29, 2020. New York is ranked as one of the largest International Financial Centres (“IFC”) in the world, now seen so quiet due the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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Read More: Futures jump as stocks aim for a rebound

2021-03-03 12:14:21

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