US stock futures reversed previous gains and went negative on Friday after the Federal Reserve announced it would not extend a pandemic rule that allowed banks to ease capital levels.
Futures contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20 points. The futures for the S&P 500 remained unchanged. The futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 also turned red after previously rising 0.5%.
The central bank declined on Friday to extend a month-end rule that eased the additional leverage ratio for banks during the pandemic. The rule that banks should hold less capital in exchange for government bonds and other equity investments was introduced to calm the bond market during the crisis and to encourage banks to lend.
The decision could have some detrimental effects, traders have warned if banks sell some of their treasury holdings in response. This could lead to even higher returns if a rapid rise in interest rates is already annoying investors.
Bond yields rose from their lows after the announcement.
The 10-year Treasury yield was last listed 2 basis points lower at 1.71%, after reaching a 14-month high of 1.75% the day before (1 basis point equals 0.01%).
Rising bond yields, which can signal confidence in the economic recovery and fears of inflation, can also make high-growth stocks less attractive to investors.
Tech stocks were particularly hard hit on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite fell 3%, with Apple and Amazon posting slightly larger losses. The Dow and S&P 500 were down 0.5% and 1.5%, respectively.
Stocks of Zoom Video and Peloton, speculative tech stocks hit by valuation fears, rebounded more than 1% in early premarket trading.
The underperformance of technology and other growth stocks on Thursday is akin to a trend seen in recent months as value stocks rose. However, growth stocks have had some strong days in the past two weeks and that is clouding the water, said Michael Mullaney, director of global market research at Boston Partners.
“If you look at the price pattern for the past seven days every day, we have a ping-pong match. One day it was growth, one day it was worth,” said Mullaney. “I’m not sure if this suggests we are at a tipping point where growth here could get a boost.”
Energy stocks were also hit hard on Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil falling more than 7%. The slow adoption of vaccines and the rise in Covid cases in Europe have weighed on the near-term outlook for oil demand.
FedEx shares rose 3% in premarket trading after the delivery company top and bottom beat expectations for the third fiscal quarter.
Nike shares fell 2% at the start of trading after sales were weaker than expected in the third quarter.
During the week, the Dow was up about 0.3% while the S&P 500 was down 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.5%.