Dow Futures Down 375 Pts; Recession Fears Weigh Ahead of PMI Data

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Friday, with investors fretting over the Federal Reserve’s hawkish interest rate trajectory and the potential for a sharp economic downswing.

At 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 375 points or 1.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 45 points or 1.3% lower, and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 160 points or 1.4%.

The major equity averages closed lower Thursday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping over 100 points or 0.4%, the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.8%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite particularly hard hit, down 1.4%.

These three indices are on course to close the week with losses of around 3%, their fifth losing week in sixth after the U.S. central bank decided to hike interest rates substantially once more while signaling that the benchmark rate will continue to push higher next year and remain at these elevated levels for longer than previously expected.

Goldman Sachs cut its year-end target for the benchmark S&P 500 index to 3,600 from 4,300, suggesting that the Fed’s shift in the interest rate outlook will weigh on valuations for U.S. equities.

The influential investment bank said the risks to its latest forecast are still skewed to the downside because of the rising odds of a recession.

Investors will focus on the latest U.S. business activity data for clues on how corporate America is coping with the soaring inflation and rising interest rates.

The manufacturing purchasing manager's index for September, due at 09:45 ET (13:45 GMT), is expected to show a reading of 51.1, down just slightly from the prior reading.

The services PMI is expected to show a reading of 45 for September, up slightly from 43.7 last month.

In Europe, the equivalent data showed that the downturn in Eurozone business activity deepened in September, sliding to its lowest mark in 20 months.

In corporate news, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) stock fell over 3% premarket after the big-box retailer reported a squeezing of its gross margins in the current quarter as it battles higher freight and labor costs.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) agreed to pay $200 million to settle the Securities and Exchange Commission’s charges that it misled investors over the safety of its 737-MAX airliners.

Oil prices fell Friday, pushing near the lows for the year and on course for a fourth consecutive weekly decline after a series of interest rate hikes around the world, led by the Federal Reserve, increased fears of a global economic slowdown, hitting the demand for energy.

The Baker Hughes rig count and the CFTC’s positioning data round off the week later in the session.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 3.2% lower at $80.80 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 2.9% to $87.84.

Additionally, gold futures fell 1.8% to $1,651.00/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.8% lower at 0.9753.

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