U.S. stock futures pause as earnings season kicks off after tech stock dive

U.S. stock index futures were steady on Friday after the previous session’s slide, when worries about interest rates again pressured equities.

What’s happening

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 177 points, or 0.49%, to 36114, the S&P 500

declined 67 points, or 1.42%, to 4659, and the Nasdaq Composite

dropped 382 points, or 2.51%, to 14807.

What’s driving markets

Comments from several Federal Reserve speakers this week showed central bank officials were thinking about making as many as five interest rate hikes in 2022, though three increases is what the dot plot of economic projections by policymakers is currently forecasting.

“The three-day U.S. tech rally fell apart, despite Treasury yields moving lower, following a selection of updates from Fed speakers in the past couple of days,” said Ian Williams, a strategist at U.K. broker Peel Hunt.

New York Fed President John Williams, a key official, is due to speak Friday, and there also will be the release of U.S. December retail sales and University of Michigan consumer sentiment data.

Earnings reporting season unofficially starts as well on Friday, with several major banks including JPMorgan Chase

and Wells Fargo

each reporting stronger fourth-quarter earnings than forecast.

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