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Stock futures turn flat after weaker-than-expected housing data

Stock futures turn flat after weaker-than-expected housing data

May 19, 2021: -On Tuesday, Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes pared gains in early trading after data showed housing starts dropped sharply last month.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures increased just 9 points after climbing around 100 points earlier. S&P 500 futures gained 0.1%. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index added 0.5%.

On Tuesday, Housing starts tumbled 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.569 million, the Commerce Department said.

Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast starts coming down of 1.7 million units in April.

Earlier, Futures rebounded after better-than-expected earnings from Home Depot and a rebound in tech shares.

Home Depot shares increased 2% in early trading, set to add to their 20% gains year-to-date. The retailer reports the earnings of $3.86 a share for the previous quarter, more than the $3.08 expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv. Net sales increased 32.7%, higher than the expectations.

Walmart shares got a profit of 1% in premarket trading after the reports of strong grocery sales and e-commerce growth for the quarter.

Major tech stocks increased in the premarket. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft were also up in premarket trading.

On Monday, lingering weakness in technology stocks led the major indexes lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 54.34 points, to 34,327.79. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% to 4,163.29 as the tech sector pulled back 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite decreased 0.4% to 13,379.05.

Big Tech stocks started decreasing this week, with Apple and Netflix each down 0.9%. Microsoft shed 1.2%,  Tesla dropped over 2% as famed investor Michael Burry revealed a significant short position on the electric carmaker.

Growth-heavy stocks have remained under pressure in recent sessions as investors fret over whether a pop in inflation will entrench or blow over as the Federal Reserve expects.

Inflation over the Fed’s 2% target for a sustained period could prompt the central bank to tighten the monetary policy and dampen stocks that outperform the market when interest rates are lower.

“Surging inflation data intensified the rift between secular growth stocks, which depend on lower-for-longer interest rates, and value-based investments, which need a steepening yield curve,” wrote Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

“Although markets anticipated a step-change in the data due to economic reopening, the magnitude of the surprises has been outsized, driving equity volatility up and market indexes down from all-time highs,” she said.

Investors blame that angst for the S&P 500′s dismal performance in the last week, which gained the broad market index fall 4% through midweek amid heightened inflation fears. The general equity benchmark eventually rebounded and ended the week down 1.4%.

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