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U.S. Futures Mixed; Tech Stocks Underperform After Gains

·3 min read
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By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening mixed Friday in narrow ranges, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq underperforming, giving back some of the recent gains as U.S. bond yields edged higher.

At 7:15 AM ET (1215 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 80 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 6 points, or 0.1%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 10 points, or 0.1%.

The major indices all closed higher Thursday, with the broad-based S&P 500 index notching a record close, for the second day in a row, and are all set to post weekly gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 1.6% this week, the S&P 500 has gained more than 1.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite has rallied more than 2.5%, with big tech appreciating the fall in bond yields.

U.S. Treasury yields have edged higher Friday, with the benchmark 10-year note yielding around 1.66%. However, this is still near two-week lows after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated late on Thursday that inflation was not a worry, and the central bank would not be tightening its ultra-easy monetary policies anytime soon.

These accommodative monetary policies and unprecedented stimulus has sparked a massive shift into stocks, with investors pumping more money into equities over the past five months than in the last 12 years, Bank of America's (NYSE:BAC) weekly flow figures showed on Friday.

The key economic data release Friday will be March producer prices, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), with economists calling for a 0.5% gain, matching the prior month's increase. 

That said, it’s debatable the extent of the market impact from this number given Powell has already said the central bank will not be unduly influenced by a period of higher-than-usual inflation rates, focusing instead on the recovery in the labor market.

In the corporate sector, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is likely to be in the spotlight as warehouse workers at one of the e-commerce giant’s facilities in Alabama vote on whether to form a union.

Also in focus will be Boeing (NYSE:BA), after CNBC reported that the aircraft manufacturer informed clients on Friday of the potential of an electrical fault in some of its 737 MAX jets.

Oil prices drifted Friday, with traders trying to digest the competing influences of rising supplies and a gathering global economic recovery. 

U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% higher at $59.69 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.1% to $63.17. 

Both contracts are on track to post a drop of between 2% and 3% this week following the decision late last week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, to gradually increase supplies by 2 million barrels per day between May and July, and that’s if all the producers stick to their agreed output levels.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,747.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1891.

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