Stock futures opened sharply higher Thursday evening as investors looked ahead to a key new report on the labor market and considered a fresh set of earnings results from several major index components.
Contracts on the S&P 500 gained more than 1% as the overnight session kicked off. Nasdaq futures also jumped. Earlier, the Nasdaq Composite index sank by 3.7% for its worst single-day decline since September 2020. Oil prices also remained in focus on Thursday as U.S. West Texas intermediate crude oil prices topped $90 per barrel for the first time since 2014.
A batch of upbeat quarterly results from Amazon (AMZN), Snap (SNAP) and Pinterest (PINS) helped dispel some of the gloom hanging over technology shares from during the regular trading day, after Meta Platforms (FB) offered an outlook that fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations.
Investors responded favorably to Amazon’s announced price hike on its premium Amazon Prime subscription and better-than-expected growth in its lucrative cloud computing business unit. And Snap and Pinterest each topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly sales and earnings, suggesting Meta Platforms may have been alone among the ad-driven internet companies in bearing the brunt of headwinds from competition and Apple iOS software changes.
New labor market data will be a major focal point for investors on Friday, offering a fuller — if backwards-looking — picture of how the economic recovery has been impacted by the Omicron variant. Consensus economists expect the Labor Department’s January jobs report to show 150,000 non-farm payrolls returned in January — or the least since December 2020. Still, the report is also expected to show the unemployment rate remained at a pandemic-era low of 3.9%.
The latest jobs report comes following a string of other softening data points on the state of the labor market, with ADP’s private payrolls report showing earlier this week the first contraction in private-sector employment in more than a year. However, a single tepid jobs report is unlikely to deter the Federal Reserve from its more hawkish monetary policy stance that has so far served as a key catalyst driving investors to reassess valuations across major stock index components.
“If we take a step and we think about why markets have been weak, going on not jus for this year, but really into the latter part of 2021, it’s been the hawkish policy pivot, and that’s not just in the U.S., but it’s increasingly a global one,” Chris Pollard, Cowen managing director and head of market strategy, told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday. “The idea of a tightening of the monetary spigot is increasing, and certainly, the idea that that is going to occur is going to lead to pressures on multiples. It’s also going to move people a little bit inward on the risk curve.”
6:13 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures jump after Amazon earnings
Here were the main moves in markets during the overnight session:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +45.25 points (+1.01%), to 4,514.25
Dow futures (YM=F): +148 points (+0.42%), to 35,119.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +265.5 points (+1.83%) to 14,757.75
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter