U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Thursday after strong earnings outlooks from companies such as Macy’s, while data confirmed the U.S. economy contracted in the first-quarter, quelling some worries about aggressive rate hikes.
Macy’s Inc jumped 13.0% in premarket trading after the department store raised its annual profit forecast, as party-wear demand rebounds.
Dollar General Corp and Dollar Tree gained 11.4% and 15.3% respectively, after raising their annual sales forecasts, as more Americans turn to discount store shopping with inflation at a four-decade high.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department’s report showed U.S. gross domestic product fell at a 1.5% annualized rate last quarter, revised down from the 1.4% decline reported in April under the weight of a record-trade deficit. The economy grew at a robust 6.9% pace in the fourth quarter. Separately, weekly jobless claims fell to 210,000 last week, consistent with a tight labor market despite rising interest rates and tightening financial conditions.
“The data is supportive of laying the groundwork for a potential dovish pivot several months from now,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital.
“These numbers are indicative that growth is slowing, demand is slowing and maybe prices are even starting to slow. And if all those three things are in place, then the case for a dovish pivot will build over the summer months.”
The report came a day after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s May meeting showed policymakers noted the U.S. economy remained strong, with households in such good shape that it might be harder to get them to stop spending and take the pressure off of prices.
Most Fed policymakers judged that further hikes of 50 basis points would “likely be appropriate” at the U.S. central bank’s policy meetings in June and July, largely in-line with investors’ expectations, helping U.S. stocks close higher on Wednesday.
Markets have sold off sharply this year on increasing worries about an economic slowdown due to aggressive Fed policy moves aimed at reining in surging prices. The war in Ukraine, pandemic-related lockdowns in China and recent dismal corporate forecasts have also weighed down markets.
The blue-chip Dow and the benchmark S&P 500 have lost 11.6% and 16.5% year-to-date, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has fallen nearly 27% as high-multiple growth stocks took a hit from rising interest rates.
At 8:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 232 points, or 0.72%, S&P 500 e-minis had gained 28 points, or 0.70%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 52.5 points, or 0.44%.
U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group added 4.7% after the company posted upbeat fourth-quarter revenue on growing demand for some of its niche online shopping services in China.
Twitter Inc gained 4.4% after Elon Musk pledged an additional $6.25 billion in equity financing to fund his $44-billion offer for the social-media company.
Nvidia Corp fell 3.7% after the chip designer forecast a decline in sales of video game chips in the current quarter, and laid out new supply-chain snags from China’s COVID-19 lockdowns.