Stock futures gained Wednesday evening after another record-setting session, with equities catching a bid higher after monetary policymakers signaled they were not inclined to quickly remove their highly accommodative policies.
Contracts on the S&P 500 advanced. The blue-chip index rose to a record closing high for the eighth time in the last nine sessions as concerns over a near-term monetary policy adjustment and sustainably high inflation abated. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to hover at a five-month low of 1.3%, with the dip in rates helping to prop up technology shares and send the Nasdaq to its own all-time high.
“On the tech side, with interest rates as low as they are, that supports a lot of those sky-high valuations you’ve seen across technology. That has been the gating factor in the first half of this year in terms of their ability to grow from the high price appreciation they reached last year,” Julie Biel, Kayne Anderson Rudnick portfolio manager, told Yahoo Finance. “I think it also makes sense that if there is some concern about how the Delta variant is going to go through the economy, that people are flying to a little bit more of the quality tech names.”
Still, recent data on the economic recovery has been mixed, with job openings rising to yet another record high in May and labor scarcities curbing the pace of the rebound across industries. Thursday's jobless claims report is expected to show new weekly filings fell to the lowest level since March 2020, albeit with the number of new filers and total claimants still highly elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The Federal Reserve's June meeting minutes underscored these and other lingering economic concerns and showed that central bank officials still saw some downside risk to the recovery that warranted their asset purchases and ultra-low interest rates to remain for the time being. As the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes said, "The Committee's standard of 'substantial further progress' was generally seen as not having yet been met, though participants expected progress to continue."
"The minutes do not suggest an imminent shift in policy. In contrast to the market’s hawkish interpretation of the June meeting and Summary of Economic Projections (SEP), the minutes show a more dovish Committee," Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist for Mizuho Securities, wrote in an email. "This is a balanced Committee that is planning in the face of an uncertain outlook."
6:18 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures gain
Here's where markets were trading Wednesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,351.25 +1.5 points (+0.03%)
Dow futures (YM=F): 34,588.00, +20 points (+0.06%)
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 14,807.00, +4.75 points (+0.03%)
Photo by: zz/STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 3/21/21 Atmosphere in and around Wall Street and The New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City on March 21, 2021 during the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Here, a Wall Street sign. (NYC)
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck