US stock futures point to further gains as Meta results, Powell press conference provides cheer

US stock futures were pointing to a stronger start Thursday, buoyed by upbeat results from Facebook parent Meta Platforms as well as the after-glow from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference. What’s happening Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -0.09% fell 45 points, or 0.1%, to 34103. S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.51% gained 20 points, or 0.5%, to 4152. Nasdaq 100 futures NQ00, +1.42% increased 172.25 points, or 1.4%, to 12587. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.02% rose 7 points, or 0.02%, to 34093, the S&P 500 SPX, +1.05% increased 43 points, or 1.05%, to 4119, and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +2.00% gained 232 points, or 2%, to 11816. What’s driving markets Meta Platforms META, +2.79% — the 14th largest company in the S&P 500 — saw its shares climb 19% in premarket trade as revenue came in ahead of estimates, guided to a revenue range slightly above expectations, and announced a $40 billion stock buyback. The Meta results come ahead of Alphabet GOOGL, +1.61%, Apple AAPL, +0.79% and AMZN, +1.96% results due after the close of trade on Thursday. All three advanced in premarket trade. Markets also had a positive reaction to the Fed’s decision to lift rates by a quarter point. Though the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee pointed to multiple rate hikes still to come, investors were cheered by Powell’s insistence, to MarketWatch’s Greg Robb, that financial conditions hadn’t changed much since the December meeting. The Chicago Fed’s national financial conditions index has loosened since then, and risky assets like profitless tech stocks and bitcoin have rallied. Powell also talked about the early stage of a disinflation process—by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee’s count, he mentioned some variant of the word 13 times. “This is a major change in language and tone and shows that the Fed is now officially recognizing the growing disinflation forces underground,” Lee said. There are two overseas central bank decisions, coming from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, which are each expected to lift interest rates by a half point. There’s also weekly jobless claims data and fourth-quarter productivity numbers to come.

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