U.S. stock-index futures sank early Thursday, as investors digested the possibility of multiple interest-rate hikes by the Fed this year, starting as soon as March.
During regular trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.38% fell 129.64 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 34,168.09, after earlier pushing as high as 34,815.67. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.15% shed 6.52 points, or 0.2%, ending at 4,349.93, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.02% added 2.82 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 13,542.12.
Trading was volatile again, and stocks fell from session highs after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that changes are coming to U.S. monetary policy.
While saying no final decisions have been made yet, Powell said the Fed “was of a mind” to raise the federal-funds rate at its mid-March meeting for the first time since 2018, and didn’t rule out the prospect of rate increases larger than 25 basis points given the scope of the inflation challenge. Economists interpreted his comments as opening the possibility of more than four rate hikes this year.
After quarterly earnings reports from Tesla TSLA, +2.07%, Intel INTC, +1.35%, and AT&T T, -8.42% on Wednesday, Apple AAPL, -0.06%, Visa V, +1.92%, Mastercard MA, +1.74%, Deutsche Bank DB, +2.78%, Comcast CMCSA, -2.44%, Mondelez MDLZ, -0.54% and others are scheduled to report Thursday.