Stock futures were flat on Thursday, as investors awaited the next market catalyst and digested the recent rally in stocks. Futures linked to the S&P 500 ticked higher by 0.05%, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.2%. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 31 points, or 0.1%. GameStop shares tumbled roughly 22% after the video game retailer announced CEO Matthew Furlong’s firing. It also appointed Ryan Cohen as its executive chairman. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are coming off a down session. The broad-market index closed 0.38% lower, while the Nasdaq dropped 1.29%. The 30-stock Dow was the outlier, with a gain of 0.27% or 91.74 points. “We’re in a bit of a news vacuum: Earnings are done, the debt ceiling is resolved, and we’re waiting for the Fed next week,” said Barbara Doran, CEO of BD8 Capital Partners on “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “It’s widely expected they will pause, but it’s really going to be important what their guidance is and what the [consumer price index] number on Tuesday will be and the [producer price index].” Indeed, investors seem to be in a holding pattern while awaiting the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting on June 13 and 14. Economic signs suggest that inflation is inching down, even as it remains above the central bank’s 2% target. New weekly jobless claims data released on Thursday showed initial jobless claims reached their highest level since October 2021, indicating a potentially softening labor market. The uptick also raised expectations the Federal Reserve would pause its rate-hiking campaign at its meeting next week. Markets are pricing about a 73% chance that the Fed keeps rates steady at the next meeting, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. Asia-Pacific markets slid as Wall Street saw a pause in its market rally and the broad market index fluctuated near its highest closing levels since August 2022. Investors in the region also further assessed economic data that has been released this week. Australia stocks were down 0.26% and ended at 7,099.7 for its third straight day of losses, after the country’s trade surplus fell more than expected to 11.16 billion Australian dollars ($7.44 billion) in April. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 extended its slide from Wednesday in a volatile session and fell 0.85% to end at 31,641.27, while the Topix was down 0.67% to end at 2,191.5. Japan’s annualized GDP for the first quarter was revised to 2.7%, higher than the 1.9% expected by economists polled by Reuters and the 1.6% posted in its initial figures. South Korea’s Kospi inched down 0.18% to end at 2,610.85 and snap a three day winning streak, while the Kosdaq slipped 0.52% to finish at 876.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index extended its rally on Wednesday and rose 0.12% in its final hour of trade, while mainland Chinese markets bucked the trend and reversed earlier losses to head into the green. The Shanghai Composite climbed 0.49% to end at 3,213.59, and the Shenzhen Component saw a smaller gain of 0.13% to end the day at 10,722.87 and rebound off a seven month low. Oil steadied on Thursday as tighter supply resulting from Saudi Arabia’s pledged production cut and a potential pause to U.S. interest rate hikes offset worries over demand weakness and a global economic slowdown. At an OPEC+ meeting on Sunday, Saudi Arabia said it will cut its crude output by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in July on top of a broader deal to limit supply into 2024 as the producer group seeks to boost flagging prices. Brent crude rose 42 cents, or 0.55%, to $77.37 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 42 cents, or 0.58%, to $72.95. Gold prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by a softer dollar, although bullion hovered near the previous session’s lows as investors awaited cues from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Spot gold was up nearly 1% at $1,958.01 per ounce, after shedding 1% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures gained 0.75% to $1,973.
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