Stock futures were flat in overnight trading Wednesday after a two-day losing streak for the major averages as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s plans to tighten monetary policy.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 30 points. S&P 500 futures inched 0.1% lower and Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed.
The back-to-back sell-off came as Fed meeting minutes showed that officials planed to reduce their trillions in bond holdings with a consensus amount around $95 billion. Meanwhile, policymakers indicated that one or more 50-basis-point interest rate hikes could be warranted to battle surging inflation.
“The minutes from the latest FOMC meeting portray a higher level of urgency than previous communication as the Fed has circled on a commitment to run the balance sheet down faster than market participants may have expected,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management.
Officials “generally agreed” that a maximum of $60 billion in Treasurys and $35 billion in mortgage-backed securities would be allowed to roll off, phased in over three months and likely starting in May.
On Wednesday, the blue-chip Dow fell more than 100 points, while the S&P 500 slid 1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped another 2.2%, bringing its week-to-date losses to 2.6%.
“It does seem like they are talking up the possibility of raising rates by 50 basis points at the next meeting so the hope is that message is well telegraphed in advance,” said Brian Price, head of investment management at Commonwealth Financial Network. “I expect that volatility will remain elevated for the time being as there is a lot of uncertainty for investors to digest right now.”
Investors await the weekly jobless claims data Thursday morning, which is expected to show a total of 200,000 claims filed.