Stock futures muted as growth outlook softens; Amazon plans job cuts at Whole Foods ahead of Q1 earnings; Fed bank lending ticks higher, balance sheet shrinks; Procter & Gamble earnings on deck with price cuts in focus and President Biden to officially unveil 2024 election run next week.
Five things you need to know before the market opens on Friday April 21:
1. — Stock Futures Muted As Growth Outlook Softens
U.S. equity futures traded flat Friday, while Treasury bond yields softened and the dollar held onto gains against its global peers, as investors looked to close out a challenging week focused on growth prospects and mixed corporate earnings.
Tesla’s TSLA near 10 slump yesterday, following a mixed first quarter update that indicated a focus on volume growth over improving profits, hammered broader market sentiment as investors digested inconsistent earnings reports and further indications of near-term economic weakness.
Weekly applications for unemployment benefits rose by 5,000 to 245,000, while a weaker-than-expected reading of the Philadelphia Fed’s regional manufacturing activity survey added to the economy’s darkening outlook.
Fed officials, meanwhile, continue to stress the need for further rate hikes, with Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester telling an audience in Akron, Ohio that “monetary policy will need to move somewhat further into restrictive territory this year, with the fed funds rate moving above 5% and the real fed funds rate staying in positive territory for some time.”
The CME Group’s FedWatch has the odds of a 25 basis point rate hike next month in Washington pegged at 81.4%, with the expectation that the Fed will hold rates at that level well into the autumn.
Benchmark 2-year Treasury note yields were marked 4 basis points lower in overnight trading at 4.139%, a move that leaves the paper up 6 basis points from the start of the quarter, with 10-yearn notes changing hands at 3.532%.
The U.S. dollar index, which is on track for its first weekly gain since February, was marked 0.08% higher at 101.921.
On Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 are priced for a 3 point opening bell gain while those linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are indicating a modest 10 point move to the upside. The tech-focused Nasdaq is looking at a 10 point opening bell gain.
Overnight in Europe, the region-wide Stoxx 600 was marked 0.1% higher in early Frankfurt trading following a better-than-expected reading of economic activity over the month of April, with Britain’s FTSE 100 rising 0.35% in London.
Overnight in Asia, the MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 1.11% lower into the close of trading while the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.33% from its eight-month high in Tokyo.
2. — Amazon Plans Job Cuts At Whole Foods Ahead of Q1 Earnings
Amazon, which purchased the high-end grocery store around five-and-half years ago for $13.7 billion, said it’s ‘evolving’ its operating structure and simplifying its reporting structure. The Wall Street Journal reported that several hundred jobs could be lost as a result of the move, with a focus on corporate positions over shop-floor staff.
Earlier this year, CEO Andy Jassy unveiled job cuts affecting around 18,000 of its global workforce amid what he called an “uncertain and difficult” global economy. Amazon, the second-largest U.S. employer behind Walmart, with a global workforce of around 1.6 million, said its job cuts review had been “more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years.”
Amazon will report its first quarter earnings on April 27, with analysts looking for a bottom line of 21 cents per share on revenues of $124.5 billion.
Amazon shares were marked 0.14% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $103.96 each.
3. — Fed Bank Lending Ticks Higher, Balance Sheet Shrinks
U.S. banks modestly increased their borrowing from the Federal Reserve‘s various lending programs this week, suggesting lenders are still feeling the affects of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse early last month.
Banks borrowed $69.9 billion from the Fed’s main discount window over the seven-day period ending on April 5, according to Fed data, up more than $2 billion from the previous period but still $83 billion lower than the record amount drawn in the immediate wake of the SVB failure.
Borrowing from the Fed’s new Bank Term Funding Program, which allows banks to exchange high-quality assets for one-year loans, rose by $2. billion to $74 billion.
Action in the Fed’s latest liquidity effort, a daily offering of U.S. dollar swap lines to foreign central banks, fell by $10 billion to $20 billion after attracting virtually no interest over its first few days in effect. The Fed’s overall balance sheet, meanwhile, shrunk by around $21.5 billion to $8.643 trillion.
4. — Procter & Gamble Earnings On Deck With Price Cuts In Focus
Analysts expected Procter & Gamble to post core earnings of $1.32 per share, a tally that is largely flat to last year, with revenues falling by around 0.5% to $19.29 billion.
Earlier this year, P&G reiterated its forecast for core earnings growth of between flat and 4% for its 2023 financial year, which ends in June, with organic sales growing between 4% to 5%.
Investors will be closely tracking changes to the group’s operating and overall profit margins, as well, amid reports that it’s paring back price increases including Tide detergent, Head & Shoulders shampoo and Pampers diapers.
Procter & Gamble shares were marked 0.17% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $151.10 each.
5. — President Biden To Officially Unveil 2024 Election Run Next Week
President Joe Biden will formally announce his intention to seek re-election in 2024 on Tuesday, according to media reports.
Biden, 80, has dodged questions over his re-election plans, while insisting he wants to “run again”.
“I plan on at least three or four more Easter egg rolls. Maybe five. Maybe six, what the hell? I don’t know,” Biden said during an interview with Al Roker on NBC’s ‘Today’ show during the annual White House Easter egg roll on April 10. “I plan on running, Al, but we’re not prepared to announce it yet.
A Tuesday announcement would come four years to the day after he formally entered the 2020 Presidential election, a race in which he ultimately defeated incumbent Republican rival Donald Trump.
Trump has indicated he plans to run again, as well, although no candidate has emerged from a group of around four high-profile GOP members including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll, published Wednesday, suggests Biden’s approval rating has fallen to around 39%, nearing the lowest levels recorded since he took office in January of 2021.