US futures fall as tech, rate-cut doubts creep in

US stock futures slid on Tuesday, pulling further back from record highs as uncertainty over interest rate cuts and the continued strength of tech stocks brought a note of wariness to the market.

S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures slipped 0.3%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures were 0.2% lower after a losing start to the week. Contracts on tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) sank 0.6% as a continued retreat in Apple (AAPL) and Tesla (TSLA) continued to drag on stocks more widely.

The debate now is whether the tech gains behind the recent record-setting stock rally have reached their peak, as downbeat news saps the “FOMO” — fear of missing out — seen as keeping investors engaged.

In premarket trading, Apple came under pressure after a report that iPhone sales fell 24% in China, adding to Monday’s loss in the wake of a $2 billion EU antitrust fine. Tesla continued to slump as a shutdown at its Berlin Gigafactory added to concerns over a shipment slump and a Chinese price war.

At the same time, faith in coming easing by the Federal Reserve took a knock after comments by policymaker Raphael Bostic. The Atlanta Fed president said he sees just one rate cut this year, penciled in for the third quarter.

Investors are now even more focused on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday. His words will be closely watched for any change in the mantra that policymakers need to be convinced inflation is conquered before any move.

Meanwhile, bitcoin (BTC-USD) briefly touched $68,000 overnight but has lost ground amid the cautious mood to trade at around $67,130. The biggest cryptocurrency remains within striking distance of a fresh all-time high, which would be above $68,789.

In corporates, Target (TGT) earnings beat Wall Street forecasts, helping shares pop 8% in premarket.

Live1 update

  • It’s Super Tuesday, Target’s CEO mentions the word election

    Super Tuesday is unlikely to move markets.

    Totally get it, besides there is a lot more happening this week in markets from wild moves in bitcoin to the slide in Tesla’s (TSLA) stock.

    But at some point this year, what’s shaping up to be a contentious US presidential election will move markets. That’s why I am banking comments on the election from top leaders today in order to help guide investors through the murky waters months from now.

    Target (TGT) chairman and CEO Brian Cornell — who I last physically saw inside the White House a few months ago before a meeting with the Biden administration —didn’t give me a lot on his macro views on Super Tuesday. He did give me just enough in a phone chat, however, to begin thinking how the consumer stock trade may act in the months before November.

    Here’s what he told me:

    “We’re watching it [the election] like you are, really carefully. We’ve looked at past trends during election years. I think that it makes sure we bring that little bit of joy to the guests during uncertain times. Make sure we make Target a special place for them to shop, filled with relevant product and great value. But we know they’re still going to consume, and we want to be a destination during what could be a very challenging and uncertain period of time.”


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