(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
By Devik Jain
(Reuters) -U.S. stock index futures were subdued on Wednesday after a record close for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq in the previous session, while investors tracked progress in the Biden administration’s multi-trillion-dollar plans.
Nordstrom Inc (NYSE:JWN) was a notable decliner premarket, tumbling 12%, after the department store operator’s quarterly revenue declined 6% from pre-pandemic levels and it flagged supply chain issues and stiff competition.
Industrial companies including Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) and 3M Co inched up about 0.3% after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a $3.5 trillion budget framework and agreed to vote by Sept. 27 on a $1 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure bill.
The S&P 500 posted its 50th record high close of this year on Tuesday as positive news on COVID-19 vaccines raised hopes of a swift economic recovery after worries about peaking growth and a spike in the Delta variant of the coronavirus sparked volatility in markets earlier this month.
“When it gets down to investors’ confidence in the direction of the market, there’s still a lot of anxiety about the Delta variant,” said Greg Bassuk, chief executive of AXS Investments in New York.
“There’s not a consistent set of data points that we can hang our hat on, in terms of knowing the longer term direction of the markets.”
Focus is now on the Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium at Jackson Hole on Friday for views on when the central bank will start tapering its massive asset purchases program.
“The market’s interpretation of the eventual announcement is much more likely to be dictated by how slowly purchases are unwound, not whether they begin in November or December,” said Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
“Equity markets continue to cheer the amount of liquidity in the system, but the Fed will not be blind to the longer-term risks of policy that is too supportive for too long.”
Meanwhile, Reuters calculations showed that global corporate profits, a key driver in the recent rally, are likely to fall in the third quarter for the first time in 18 months after record earnings in April-June.
A Commerce Department report showed new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods were steady in July.
Shares of several retail trading darlings, including AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) and Koss Corp, added between 2.5% and 3%, a day after dealing over $1 billion in losses to short sellers in late heavy volume trading on no apparent news.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) rose 0.5% after the drugmaker said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine sharply increased levels of antibodies, based on interim data from two early-stage trials.
Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) Co fell 1.3% after Piper Sandler downgraded the Prego pasta sauce maker’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”.
Futures muted after record close for S&P 500, Nasdaq
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