Junk-rated debt looks safer than stocks as recession threat looms, according to Nuveen

U.S. stock futures edge higher after Wednesday bounce

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U.S. stock-index futures edged higher Thursday in choppy trade as investors awaited weekly jobs data and continued to monitor corporate earnings reports after bouncing back sharply in the previous session after back-to-back losses.

What’s happening
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

    edged up 69 points, or 0.2%, to 32,839.

  • S&P 500 futures

    rose 12.75 points, or 0.3%, to 4,169.

  • Nasdaq-100 futures

    were up 62.25 points, or 0.5%, at 13,333.75.

The Dow

jumped 416.33 points, or 1.3%, on Wednesday, while the S&P 500

rose 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite

jumped 2.6%.

What’s driving the market

Investors were looking for direction Thursday after stocks bounced back following upbeat U.S. economic data that helped soothe recession fears, though Federal Reserve officials continue to warn that achieving a so-called soft landing for the economy as they raise interest rates to battle inflation will be difficult.

Market participants appear to expect that the prospect of an economic slowdown will lead the Fed to slow rate hikes, with fed-funds futures markets pricing in rate cuts in 2023.

“It’s worth noting that stock markets rallied on the signs of stronger-than-expected growth. This is significant because recently they’ve been rallying on signs of weaker growth, which would mean that the Fed was likely to stop hiking rates and start cutting early on,” said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss Holding Ltd., in a note.

“So stock markets rise when growth looks strong and rise when growth looks weak. Who said markets are consistent?” he wrote.

Another busy day of earnings looms. Shares of Lucid Group Inc.

were lower in premarket trade after the electric-vehicle maker late Wednesday announced a reduction in its production forecast. Lucid said it now expects its 2022 production volume to hit 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles, after stating 12,000 to 14,000 vehicles in May.

Data on U.S. weekly jobless claims is due for 8:30 a.m. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect first-time applications for benefits to rise to 260,000 in the week ended July 30 from 256,000. The July jobs report is due Friday.

Employment gains in July are expected to drop to 258,000 from 372,000 in the prior month, a poll of economists by The Wall Street Journal estimates. If so, it would mark the smallest increase since December 2021.

Hear from Carl Icahn at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. The legendary investor will reveal his view on this year’s wild market ride.

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