Futures muted after rally on AI boost, inflation relief

March 1 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were subdued on Friday after a rally in the previous session, driven by enthusiasm about the potential for artificial intelligence and an inflation reading that strengthened bets of interest rate cuts by June this year.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at a record high on Thursday, spurred by gains in AI-linked stocks such as heavyweight chip designer Nvidia and its rival Advanced Micro Devices, which hit an all-time peak.

Shares of Nvidia, the key driver of the AI-led rally on Wall Street this year, were up 0.8% in premarket trade, while those of Advanced Micro Devices climbed 2.5% after a 9% surge in the previous session.

The Wall Street rally found further support as the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) report came in-line with expectations on Thursday and showed annual inflation growth was the smallest in three years.

Still, some analysts pointed to signs of stubborn price pressures posing a threat to prospects of rate cuts in the first half of the year.

“Inflation is still sticky and bumpy. We know that the Federal Reserve won’t be able to cut the interest rate anytime before summer,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior market analyst at Swissquote Bank.


Adding to the risk-off mood on Friday, New York Community Bancorp slumped 28.1% after the regional lender said it had found “material weaknesses” in internal controls related to its loan review and revised its fourth-quarter loss 10 times above the previously stated numbers.

Shares of other regional banks Zions Bancorp and Keycorp fell over 1% each.

At 5:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 97 points, or 0.25%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 11.75 points, or 0.23%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 31.75 points, or 0.18%. All three indexes clocked their fourth straight monthly gains on Thursday, while the S&P 500 notched a fresh closing high as euphoria around AI and a strong fourth-quarter earnings season propelled stocks to new heights in February.

Investors now await data on manufacturing activity and consumer sentiment as well as remarks from Fed officials including Fed Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly later in the day for further clues on the interest rate path.

Among other stocks, cybersecurity firm Zscaler shed 6% as the company reported higher operating expenses in the second quarter.

Dell Technologies jumped 23% after the personal computer maker forecast annual revenue and profit above Wall Street estimates, betting on demand for its AI servers.

Autodesk gained 8.9% as the company’s annual revenue forecast exceeded expectations on resilient demand for its design software products.

Credit: Reuters

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