Stock futures open higher after tech-led drop

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Stock futures rose Wednesday evening after a mixed session, with traders awaiting the next batch of earnings results and a slew of economic data Thursday morning.

Contracts on the Dow gained, after the index hit a record intraday high during Wednesday’s regular session. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also rose to reverse earlier declines. Shares of Coinbase (COIN), the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., jumped more than 5% in late trading after closing below its opening trade price in a volatile first day on the public markets. 

Traders are looking ahead to a key print on the strength of the U.S. consumer on Thursday, with the Commerce Department’s March retail sales report due for release. Consensus economists expect to see a 5.8% jump in monthly retail sales, with stimulus checks and easing social distancing standards helping fuel the biggest gain in retail sales since January. Meanwhile, a new print on weekly jobless claims will likely show a decline in the number of individuals filing for first-time unemployment benefits.

Members of the Federal Reserve has also underscored the recent pick-up in economic activity. In the Fed’s Beige Book, or collection of anecdotes about economic conditions across the Fed districts, the central bank noted that “national activity accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April,” with the leisure and hospitality industry especially boosted by rising demand for travel. 

Other economist agreed with this assessment. 

“We expect a strong rebound in growth in the second half of the year driven by vaccines, by improving virus trends, and the opening of the service sector,” Wilmington Trust’s Rhea Thomas told Yahoo Finance. “All of those will come with a rebound in consumer demand that will push inflation higher as well as interest rates.”

But even given the recovery, central bank officials have stuck to their script that the economy still needs significant support as it emerges from the pandemic. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said during remarks at The Economic Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that the Fed’s criteria for considering an interest rate hike would not likely be reached before 2022, and that the central bank was inclined to taper its aggressive asset purchase program “well before” moving on rates.

6:01 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures trade higher 

Here’s where markets were trading Wednesday evening: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,123.00, up 5 point or 0.12%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,657.00, up 33 points or 0.1%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,824.00, up 25.25 points or 0.18%

The hand of a sculpture of former U.S. President George Washington is pictured with the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday's trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The hand of a sculpture of former U.S. President George Washington is pictured with the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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

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