Futures drop as megacaps retreat ahead of key jobs data

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s index futures dipped on Tuesday as megacap stocks pulled back after a strong session, while some caution crept in ahead of jobs opening data and a series of other crucial U.S. labor market reports due throughout the week for monetary policy cues.

Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.com slipped in premarket trading after jumping 2%-3% in the previous day. Tesla shed 1% after Monday’s 6% jump ahead of the EV maker’s June-quarter deliveries, expected to fall for two straight quarters for the first time.

AI chip leader Nvidia also dropped 1.4%, with other semiconductor stocks such as Micron Technology, Marvell Technology and Arm Holdings also slipping nearly 1%.

On the data front, the job openings and labor turnover survey, or JOLTS, is due after market open and is expected to show job openings fell to 7.910 million in May from 8.059 million in the previous month.

The data would be crucial in determining the state of the U.S. labor market, which remains somewhat resilient even against the backdrop of decades-high interest rates – a key determinant of economic health.

The other jobs data that are due throughout the week include ADP National Employment, weekly jobless claims and non-farm Payrolls. The other prints also scheduled for the week are factory orders and services PMI, coupled with minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

With the equity market closed on Thursday on account of U.S. Independence Day, trading volumes are expected to be light throughout the week.

As recent data signals a renewed moderation in inflation and some signs of economic weakness, market participants are holding on to their bets around two interest rate cuts by this year-end, starting from September, as per LSEG’s FedWatch data.

“We continue to observe that U.S. exceptionalism has somewhat softened. In particular, growing strains were seen on U.S. consumer while the tightness in the U.S. labor market has eased,” said analysts at OCBC.

“Our house view continues to expect two cuts for 2024, with the first cut happening sometime in the third quarter.”

Further, investors will also parse remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell in a policy panel before the European Central Bank forum on central banking.

At 5:31 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 124 points, or 0.31%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 23.25 points, or 0.42%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 102.25 points, or 0.51%.

Among other major premarket movers, Paramount Global climbed 4.6% after billionaire Barry Diller’s digital-media conglomerate IAC is exploring a bid to take control of the media giant.

Atlassian rose 1.9% after Piper Sandler upgraded the enterprise software maker to “overweight” from “neutral”, while CrowdStrike Holdings slipped 2.1% after the same brokerage downgraded the cybersecurity firm to “neutral” from “overweight”.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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