US futures rise at start of Q2 amid Fed rate cut optimism

Apr 1, 2024 7:55 pm | News — U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Monday, after a market holiday on Friday, amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will soon start a rate cutting cycle, with markets pricing in a first cut as early as June.

At 06:30 ET (10:30 GMT), the contract was 106 points, or 0.2%, higher, gained 19 points, or 0.3%, and rose by 103 points, or 0.5%.

The gains came after data on Friday, released during the market holiday for Good Friday showed that inflation increased less than expected in February, bolstering expectations for a June rate cut from the Fed.

Wall Street was preparing for the second quarter to get underway after stocks notched up a strong start to 2024.

The surged 10.2% in the three months to March, its best quarterly performance since 2019. The gained 5.6%, marking its strongest quarter since 2021, while the climbed 9.1%.

March marked the fifth straight month of gains for markets, with the S&P 500 and Dow adding on 3.1% and 2.1% respectively, while the Nasdaq gained 1.8%.

Sentiment was also boosted after data on Sunday showed that China’s manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in six months in March, even as a crisis in the property sector remains a drag on the world’s largest economy.

In corporate news, Microsoft (NASDAQ:) plans to begin offering its chat and video app, Teams, as a standalone product, separating it from its Office suite on a global scale, Reuters reported on Monday.

It comes six months after the tech giant initiated a similar separation in Europe, responding to regulatory scrutiny over its product bundling practices.

Meanwhile, Tesla (NASDAQ:) announced a $1,000 price hike for all its Model Y variants in the United States.

The announcement comes as the electric-vehicle maker is expected to report weak quarterly sales as early as Tuesday amid rising competition from cheaper rivals like China’s BYD (SZ:).

On the economic data front, the for March is due for release at 10:00 ET (15:00 GMT).

(Reuters contributed reporting)

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