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Futures muted, Lowe's to report, Bitcoin jumps - what's moving markets

Published 02/27/2024, 03:21 AM
Updated 02/27/2024, 03:21 AM
© Reuters

Investing.com -- Futures hover around the flatline on Tuesday after last week's artificial intelligence-powered rally showed signs of slowing in the previous session. Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) is due to report its quarterly earnings, with investors keen to find out how the home improvement retailer is navigating a pullback in spending by inflation-squeezed shoppers. Elsewhere, Bitcoin hits the $57,000 mark and Disney announces a shake-up at its live action movie studios unit.

1. Futures subdued

Stock futures on Wall Street were subdued on Tuesday, as traders looked ahead to key economic data this week and a fresh slate of corporate earnings.

By 03:13 ET (08:13 GMT), the Dow futures contract, S&P 500 futures, and Nasdaq 100 futures were all mostly unchanged.

The main averages ended the prior session slightly lower, in a sign that an AI-fueled rally in equities last week was losing some steam. The benchmark S&P 500 dipped by 0.4%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.1%, and the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.2%.

Weighing on sentiment on Monday were comments from Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Schmid, who was giving his first policy speech since starting in the role last August. Schmid was the latest Fed official to stress that there is no rush to "preemptively" bring interest rates down from more than two-decade highs due to sticky inflation.

Fed policymakers and markets alike will have more economic data to pour through in the coming days. Updated fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product figures are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, while the personal consumption expenditures price index -- a key inflation gauge -- is set to be published on Thursday.

2. Lowe's highlights earnings calendar

Investors will also be keeping an eye on an ongoing parade of quarterly returns.

On Tuesday, Lowe's is expected to unveil its results for the three month period ended in January. Like peer Home Depot (NYSE:HD), the DIY goods retailer has offered a relatively downbeat assessment of customer demand.

In November, Lowe's slashed its full-year earnings target, flagging that inflation-hit shoppers are ratcheting down spending on home renovation projects. Chief Executive Marvin Ellison told Reuters at the time that the North Carolina-based group has seen a "greater-than-expected pullback" in discretionary expenditures on items like appliances, kitchen goods, and home decor.

Lowe's now estimates that annual comparable sales will decline by 5%, down from its prior guidance of a 2% to 4% drop.

Other firms reporting their latest results today include car parts seller AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and fruit spreads maker The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM).

3. Bitcoin briefly clears $57,000

Bitcoin prices touched a two-year high on Tuesday, boosted largely by indications of sustained capital inflows into spot exchange-traded funds which were launched earlier this year.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency jumped nearly 10% to $56,293.4 by 03:19 ET. The token was less than $14,000 away from a lifetime high hit during a bull run in late-2021.

Gains in Bitcoin, along with the broader crypto market, came as a report from digital asset manager Coinshares showed crypto investment products saw a fourth straight week of capital inflows.

4. Disney shakes up movie studio leadership

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) has unveiled leadership changes at its key live action movie studio following a string of recent box office flops like "Haunted Mansion" and "Jungle Cruise".

David Greenbaum, who previously served as the president of Searchlight Pictures and has overseen the release of several critically-acclaimed titles, will replace long-time Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey.

Pressure has been increasing on Disney's management to revive the division. Apart from 2022's "Avatar: The Way of Water," Disney has not produced a film that has grossed $1 billion since the latest installment of its Star Wars franchise was released in 2019.

Chief Executive Bob Iger has said that the entertainment giant's studios have "lost focus," arguing that the business focused on quantity instead of quality.

5. Oil ticks higher

Oil prices rose in European trade on Tuesday, extending the prior session’s gains, as fears of tighter supplies have supported prices this week.

Still, crude prices remained largely within a $75 to $85 a barrel range established over the past two months, as any major price gains were held back by concerns that sticky inflation and higher-for-longer interest rates will weigh on demand.

Brent oil futures expiring in April climbed 0.3% to $82.80 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures advanced 0.3% to $77.83 a barrel by 03:19 ET.

Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent note that they largely expected oil to remain within $70 to $90 a barrel in the near-term.

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