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U.S. stock futures pointed to a mixed start for Wall Street, with technology getting a boost after strong results from Apple, as earnings from Caterpillar and Chevron awaited.

Investors will also focus on important inflation and consumer spending data later.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, -0.24% slipped less than 0.1% to 4,314
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -0.33% dipped 0.2% to 33,966
  • Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.17% climbed 0.4% to 14,040

On Thursday, the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.02% finished less than 0.1% lower at 34,160, following a 600-point gain earlier in the session. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.54% fell 0.5% to 4,326 and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.40% slid 1.4% to finish at 13,352.

What’s driving the market?

A potential rebound for tech stocks, driven by Apple AAPL, -0.29%, comes as the Nasdaq faces its longest weekly losing streak since Nov. 2012 — it was down 3% as of Thursday. For the month, the Nasdaq has lost around 14%, putting it on pace for the worst monthly performance since Oct. 2008, the depths of the Global Financial Crisis.

Apple shares rose 5% in premarket trade after the iPhone maker sailed past Wall Street’s earnings expectations for the holiday quarter, and executives forecast continued revenue growth in the current quarter. Earnings topped $30 billion for the first time, and the results mark a high point in a thus-far mixed reporting season.

“Apple’s blowout results are just what the tech sector needed to get out of its recent funk. The iPhone giant’s big beat could be the next catalyst to spark a rally in the tech space,” said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at Investing.com, in a note to clients.

Opinion: After a monster quarter, Apple’s non-forecast is good enough for Wall Street

While Apple shares gained, stock in Robinhood Markets HOOD, -6.45% tumbled 15% in premarket trading after the trading app closely associated with the “meme stocks” phenomenon swung to a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and reported a drop securities-trading volumes.

Opinion: Robinhood is about to not celebrate a very unhappy anniversary

More earnings are ahead for Friday, with Chevron CVX, +2.02%, Caterpillar CAT, -0.99% and Colgate CL, +1.61% among the big names scheduled.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000, which slipped into correction territory on Thursday, are on pace for their worst months since March 2020, according to some data.

A volatile month has whipsawed investors, who have juggled worries over the pace of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, a mixed earnings season, the ongoing pandemic fallout and geopolitical worries surrounding a potential Russia invasion of Ukraine.

Questions over the Fed’s plans to tackle inflation have hit interest rate-sensitive tech and growth stocks particularly hard. This week’s Fed meeting produced no change, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell didn’t rule out a potential hike at each meeting, and said the central bank needed to be “nimble.” 

Read: Here’s what history says about stock-market returns during Fed rate-hike periods

“The biggest worry for traders now is how much of an interest rate hike they will see coming in March. There is so much noise as some market players believe that the Fed could increase the interest rate by 50 basis points,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

“Looking at the FOMC comments and their decision this week, it is very clear that the Fed has embarked on a journey that shows they will adopt their most hawkish monetary policy in decades,” he said, in a note to clients.

Opinion: Stock investors know not to fight the Fed, but you can fight the Fed Model

Investors will get the latest reading on the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the core PCE inflation index for December, which will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, along with real consumer spending and discposible incomes. The fourth-quarter employment cost index will be released at the same time. At 10 a.m. Eastern, investors will get the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for January.

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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