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Stock futures flat after selloff on Wall Street, more bank profits to come

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, United States, January 10, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were flat in overnight trading on Tuesday after a sell-off on Wall Street sparked by soaring bond yields.

Dow futures only rose 10 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.05% and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 540 points, dragged down by a 7% decline in Goldman Sachs stock. The Wall Street bank missed analysts’ earnings expectations as operating expenses jumped 23%.

The S&P 500 fell 1.8%. The Nasdaq Composite, full of interest-rate-sensitive tech stocks, was the relative underperformer, plunging 2.6%. The Nasdaq closed at its lowest level in three months as investors feared how quickly the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Bond yields have continued to climb year-to-date on Tuesday, with the 10-year Treasury bill rising above 1.87%, its highest level in 2 years. The 10-year rate started the year around 1.5%. At the same time, the 2-year rate, which reflects short-term interest rate expectations, exceeded 1% for the first time in two years.

The move, which comes after a U.S. holiday on Monday, signals investors are bracing for the possibility of more aggressive tightening from the Federal Reserve.

“The 2-year yield topping 1% is the bond market saying it agrees with the Fed that more aggressive hikes are coming,” said Ryan Detrick of LPL Financial. “Add these concerns with crude flirting with $85 a barrel and stubbornly high inflation, and we have a perfect cocktail for a risk-free day.”

The S&P 500 ended the day almost above its 100-day moving average. Jim Paulsen, Leuthold Group’s chief investment strategist, said traders will be watching whether the index holds at this level or declines.

“With a light economic calendar this week, all eyes will be on key technical support levels, earnings reports and whether bond yields continue to climb towards 2% or finally take a breather,” Paulsen said.

Bank earnings continue Wednesday with reports from Bank of America and Morgan Stanley expected before the bell.

Of the 33 S&P 500 companies that reported quarterly results, nearly 70% beat Wall Street expectations.

Procter & Gamble, US Bancorp, UnitedHealth and United Airlines also announced their quarterly results on Wednesday.

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