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Stock futures are flat after sell-off on Wall Street, more bank earnings ahead

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 10, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were steady in overnight trading on Tuesday following a sell-off on Wall Street triggered by surging bond yields.

Dow futures rose just 30 points. S&P 500 futures gained 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.15%.

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

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

Bond yields continued their year-to-date climb on Tuesday with the 10-year Treasury topping 1.87%, its highest level in 2 years. The 10-year yield started the year around 1.5%. Meanwhile, the 2-year rate — which reflect short-term interest rate expectations — topped 1% for the first time in two years.

The move, which comes after a market holiday in the U.S. Monday, indicates that investors are preparing for the possibility of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve.

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

The S&P 500 ended the day nearly on top of its 100-day moving average. Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, said traders will be watching if the index holds this level or breaks lower.

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

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

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

Procter & Gamble, U.S. Bancorp, UnitedHealth and United Airlines also report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

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