Thursday December 16, 2021

// December 16th, 2021 // Daily News

Dow futures up 200 points following Fed decision to aggressively wind down asset purchases

U.S. stock futures rose sharply in early Thursday trading after the Federal Reserve signaled it would be aggressive on tapering and sees three interest rate hikes in 2022.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped about 222 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.7% each.

Shares of companies that have done well in previous rate-hiking cycles led premarket gainers. Materials stocks FMC Corp. and Freeport-McMoRan both rose more than 3% ahead of the opening bell. Bank stocks also rose across the board, with JPMorgan ChaseCitigroup and Bank of America all up about 0.6%.

In transportation news, Delta Air Lines reported that it now expects to see a profit of $200 million in the fourth quarter, after previously projecting a loss. Shares rose 2.2% on the news.

In other central banking news, the Bank of England announced it is hiking its key policy rate by 15 basis points to 0.25%. Markets were awaiting a separate policy decision from the European Central Bank. There also is more economic news on tap, with weekly jobless claims and housing starts out at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Following the Fed news, traders accelerated their own expectations for interest rate increases. Fed funds futures trading now points to a 63% chance of the first quarter-percentage-point increase coming in May 2022, with chances also rising to about 44% that the central bank could make its first move as soon as March, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Stocks traded in negative territory throughout the regular session Wednesday and turned higher ahead of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference in the afternoon at the conclusion of the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The Dow added 383 points, or 1.08%. The S&P 500 rose 1.63% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.15%.

“The fact that the FOMC acknowledged new COVID variants as a threat to the economic recovery that could alter policy going forward, as well as the generally optimistic tone from Powell in the presser, helped spark a relief rally as the Fed meeting was viewed as being not-as-hawkish-as-feared,” Tom Essaye of the Sevens Report said in a note on Thursday.

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