U.S. stock futures point lower, with fresh pressure for tech as bond yields rise

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U.S. stock index futures were trading lower early Wednesday as bond yields rose on fears about inflation, the federal debt ceiling debate in Washington, and the likelihood of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.

Data from ADP showing a jump in private payrolls in September did little to stem the declines.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -0.84% fell 300 points, or 0.9%, to 33,885.
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, -0.96% dropped 46 points, or 1.3%, to 4,287.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -1.05% declined 176.75 points, or 1.2%, to 14,478.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.92% rose 312 points, or 0.92%, to 34315, the S&P 500 SPX, +1.05% increased 45 points, or 1.05%, to 4346, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +1.25% gained 178 points, or 1.25%, to 14434.

What’s driving the market?

A report from Automatic Data Processing Inc. showed that 568,000 private-sector jobs were created in September, outpacing estimates from the Wall Street Journal for 425,000. However, a reading for August was reduced to 340,000 from 374,000.

Still, the labor-market report, coming ahead of the more closely followed nonfarm payrolls report due Friday from the Labor Department, may be sufficient to meet the Federal Reserve’s criteria for “substantial further progress” as the central bank looks ready to taper its monthly purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economists expect the economy added a net 500,000 jobs in September, up from the disappointing 235,000 jobs added in August, according to a Wall Street Journal poll. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 5.1% from 5.2%.

Meanwhile, rising bond yields were already in motion and set to derail chances of any follow-up to Tuesday’s gains in stocks. Some investors were seeking haven in the U.S. dollar DXY, +0.36%, which rose as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.521% gained 2 basis points to 1.544%. European and most Asian stocks fell.

The combined effect of rising yields and a global energy crunch especially in Europe and Asia is triggering “more negative sentiment,” said Saxo Bank’s chief investment officer, Steen Jakobsen, in a note to clients.

“Yesterday’s session failed to take out the previous day’s high, so if the energy crunch narrative builds today with yields extending their rise, then we could see a renewed selloff,” said Jakobsen.

Natural-gas futures NG00, -3.82% tapped fresh record prices on Wednesday in the U.K. and Europe, but were seen pulling back substantively on reports of increased production.

Technology stocks looked set to lead any selloff, as rising yields can be a negative for shares of fast-growing companies as they make those future cash flows appear less valuable. 

Read: Analyst forecasts tech stock rebound of at least 10% and says rate fears will soon pass

What companies are in focus?
How are other assets trading?
  • Oil futures fell, with the U.S. benchmark CL00, -1.08% down 0.8% to $78.29 a barrel. Gold futures GC00, -0.10% dropped less than 0.1% to around $1,760 an ounce.
  • In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -1.26% fell 1.3%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX, -1.17% dropped 1.5%.
  • The Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.57% closed down 0.5% in Hong Kong, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -1.05% dropped 1%. Markets in China remain closed for a holiday.