Stock futures were almost flat early on Thursday after the major indexes slipped into the red at the end of regular trading and investors weighed the likelihood of a recession after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell acknowledged it’s a possibility.
Futures tied to the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq hovered around the flatline.
In regular trading, the Dow retreated 47.12 points, or 0.15%, in the final hour of the session, after rallying to start the day. The S&P 500 fell 0.13% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.15%.
The moves came after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell told Congress the central bank is “strongly committed” to bringing down inflation. He also noted that a recession is a “possibility,” a fear that has continued to weigh on Wall Street.
“The odds are more likely in favor of a recession than not,” Dan Greenhaus, Solus Alternative Asset Management chief strategist, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “That speaks to the degree of tightening that the Federal Reserve is going to have to do now, having not done so in prior periods when perhaps they would have avoided some of the problems that are going to happen as a result.”
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be more economic pain than people at least six months ago anticipated, but are increasingly coming around to the reality that that’s probably what’s going to happen,” he added.
Elsewhere, energy stocks, which have been outperformers in 2022, took a hit as oil prices fell on concerns that a slower economy could hurt fuel demand. The sector was the worst performing in the S&P 500.
On Thursday, investors will be looking forward to fresh jobless claims data. Powell will also give remarks to the House, after having addressed the Senate Wednesday. The remarks are part of a congressionally mandated semiannual report on monetary policy.
It’s a quiet earnings week but Darden Restaurants will report its financial results for the most recent quarter before the opening bell Thursday. Rite Aid announces its latest results the same morning.