Market Snapshot: Dow poised to drop by more than 100 points


U.S. stock futures pointed to a slide at the open Thursday, as analysts sounded uncertain about how to interpret the Federal Reserve’s latest signals.

Worries about a global trade war and Facebook Inc.’s controversy also appeared to be weighing on markets.

The U.S. central bank on Wednesday lifted a key interest rate, but stuck to a script for three rate hikes in 2018 even as it gave a more upbeat forecast for the U.S. economy.

Read more: Fed hawks and doves send different signals on rates and inflation

And see: Powell would sooner dismiss his colleagues than Trump’s tax cut

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMM8, -0.72%   shed 181 points, or 0.7%, to 24,546, while S&P 500 futures ESM8, -0.79% gave up 21.80 points, or 0.8%, to 2,696.50. Nasdaq-100 futures NQM8, -1.23% lost 80.75 points, or 1.2%, to 6,803.25.

On Wednesday, the Dow DJIA, -0.18% , S&P 500 SPX, -0.18% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.26% all closed between 0.2% and 0.3% lower after swinging between gains and losses after the Fed’s policy announcement.

What’s driving markets?

U.S. stocks are on track for a weekly drop, thanks in large part to a tech-sector selloff that has been led by Facebook Inc.’s shares FB, +0.74%  .

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized Wednesday night for the Cambridge Analytica data controversy during an interview with CNN, and said he’d be willing to testify before Congress. The social-media giant has been enduring a firestorm and stock selloff after data-mining company Cambridge Analytica reportedly used the personal details of 50 million Facebook users without authorization.

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Worries also are persisting this week about a potential global trade war, helped by news that the Trump administration plans to release on Thursday a package of proposed punitive measures aimed at China that include tariffs on imports worth at least $30 billion.

See: Trump’s most market-rattling trade blasts are still to come, warns Pimco

And read: How investors can protect against a trade war — in one sentence

Congressional leaders reached an agreement Wednesday night on a spending bill that would fund the government until October, and lawmakers now have two days to consider and pass the 2,232-page bill before the government’s current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

What are strategists saying?

The Fed’s “middle ground” message has left markets “undecided,” said Ken Odeluga, a City Index analyst, in a note.

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“Markets were briefly relieved that the Federal Reserve’s first rate rise, forecasts and comments under new Chair Jerome Powell did not deviate significantly from best guesses,” Odeluga wrote.

“But U.S. shares flitted in and out of the red before closing slightly lower on Wednesday, and indecision carried on in Asian trading, too.”

What are other markets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.05% edged lower, building on the prior day’s drop. Dollar bulls have found themselves disappointed by the Fed sticking to its guidance for three total rate increases this year.

European equities SXXP, -0.76% traded in the red, while Asian markets mostly closed with losses.

Gold futures GCJ8, +0.58% gained, and oil futures US:CLJ8 dropped.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares in Facebook FB, +0.74% fell 2% in premarket action. They’re down 8.5% for the week.