Stock futures drop after US officials call for pause of J&J vaccine rollout

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Stock futures sank Tuesday morning after U.S. federal health officials called for a pause in the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine amid concerns over rare blood clots in some individuals who received the inoculation. 

Contracts on the Dow, which had been slightly higher, sold off by about 200 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also dropped following the joint announcement between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could complicate the vaccine distribution process as the country paces toward achieving herd immunity. 

Shares of Dow component Johnson & Johnson also sank in early trading following the report. According to the health agencies, more than 6.8 million doses of the single-dose vaccine had been administered in the U.S. so far. The agencies are reviewing data over six reported U.S. cases of a severe blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine, and have recommended the pause “out of an abundance of caution,” the FDA said in a Twitter post. 

Investors also eyed a print on consumer price inflation, with prices beginning to jump off of last year’s pandemic-pressured levels. The headline consumer price index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics rose 2.6% in March over last year, or faster than the 2.5% increase expected. However, the rise was less pronounced when excluding volatile food and energy prices, with core consumer prices rising 1.6% after a 1.3% gain in February. 

Traders have been looking ahead to more action later this week, with a host of big bank earnings slated for release later this week. Banks are likely to be the first industry to report a strong rise in profits to coincide with the recovering economy, with earnings results from companies across the S&P 500 to follow in the coming weeks. 

“We’ve still got a lot of fuel in the tank as far as the economy is concerned,” James Bruderman, 1879 Advisors Vice Chairman, told Yahoo Finance. “We’re still poised, I think, in the early stages of the recovery, maybe getting a little bit into the growth stage. But I think we’ve got a lot of runway – especially with all the stimulus that’s yet to be spent – to let earnings continue to support and maybe even provide some more upside.” 

“Where we are in the economic cycle, I’m feeling rather confidence about the prospects for equities,” Bruderman added. “That being said … the risk of any shock can certainly have a little bit more of a multiplicative effect given those higher valuations.” 

8:32 a.m. ET: Consumer prices rise 2.6% year-over-year in biggest jump since 2018 

Consumer prices increased more than expected in March as prices began to bounce above last year’s pandemic-pressured levels, showing early signs of upward price pressure during the COVID-19 recovery.

The consumer price index (CPI) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rose 0.6% in March over February, following a 0.4% rise the month earlier. Consensus economists were looking for just a 0.5% monthly rise in March. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the CPI was up 0.3%, also outpacing expectations for a 0.2% gain. 

Over last year, the headline CPI jumped 2.6%, or the most since mid-2018. This was faster than the rise of 2.5% expected, and February’s 1.7% year-over-year rise. Excluding food and energy prices, the CPI was up 1.6% over last year versus the 1.5% rise expected. Energy prices were a big contributor to both the monthly and yearly gain for the CPI, and gasoline prices specifically were up more than 9% over last month and 22.5% over last year.

7:27 a.m. ET: Stock futures sink after officials recommend pausing J&J vaccine rollout 

Here’s where markets were trading Tuesday morning: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,108.00, down 12.25 points or 0.3%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,506.00, down 125 points or 0.37%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,799.75, down 9 points or 0.07%

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.30 (+0.50%) to $60.00 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$3.40 (-0.2%) to $1,729.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.4 bps to yield 1.676%

6:10 p.m. ET: Stock futures open slightly higher

Here’s where markets were trading Monday evening: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,123.25, up 3 points or 0.07%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,642.00, up 11 points or 0.03%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,838.00, up 19.25 points or 0.14%

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2021 -- Pedestrians walk in front of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE, in New York, United States, Jan. 8, 2021. U.S. employers slashed 140,000 jobs in December, the first monthly decline since April 2020, as the recent COVID-19 spikes disrupted labor market recovery, the Labor Department reported Friday. 
The unemployment rate, which has been trending down over the past seven months, remained unchanged at 6.7 percent, according to the monthly employment report. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Michael Nagle via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2021 — Pedestrians walk in front of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE, in New York, United States, Jan. 8, 2021. U.S. employers slashed 140,000 jobs in December, the first monthly decline since April 2020, as the recent COVID-19 spikes disrupted labor market recovery, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate, which has been trending down over the past seven months, remained unchanged at 6.7 percent, according to the monthly employment report. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Michael Nagle via Getty Images)

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

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