Wall Street set to fall at open on inflation concerns, rising yields

FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City, U.S.

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes were on track to open lower on Monday as climbing Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of technology-related companies.

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Shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Tesla Inc, Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc resumed their declines from the previous week, falling between 1% and 2.8% in trading before the bell.

A largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings had powered Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs earlier last week, but the rally lost steam on fears of a potential snag in countrywide inoculation efforts and inflation concerns rising from a raft of stimulus measures.

“Since investors are anticipators, they are preparing for a potential spike in inflation now,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

“Most growth stocks benefit from declining interest rates. If interest rates are expected to rise, then that would reduce the intrinsic value of growth stocks.”

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have already reached 1.38%, above the psychological 1.30% level.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in his semi-annual testimony before Congress this week is likely to reiterate a commitment to keeping policy super easy for as long as needed to drive inflation higher.

Cyclical stocks have benefited recently from a rotation out of technology-related shares on hopes that they stand to gain from pent-up demand once the coronavirus pandemic is subdued.

The S&P 500 value index has posted three straight weeks of gains this month, while the S&P 500 growth index lost 1.7% last week.

The Dow closed almost flat for the week on Friday, while the benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq posted their first weekly declines this month.

At 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 168 points, or 0.53%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 26.5 points, or 0.68%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 161.25 points, or 1.19%.

Boeing Co dropped 2.9% after a United Airlines plane’s engine shed debris over Denver on Saturday, prompting the planemaker to urge airlines to suspend the use of its 777 jets with Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines.

Raytheon Technologies Corp, owner of Pratt & Whitney, also fell 1.9%.

Discovery Inc gained 4.4% after the media company said it was expecting to have 12 million global paid streaming subscribers by the end of February, as coronavirus-led restrictions kept people home.

Kohl’s Corp jumped 9.3% after a group of activist investors, nominated nine directors to the troubled department store chain’s board.

Principal Financial Group Inc gained 5.1% after a media report that activist investor Elliott Management Corp had taken a stake in the life insurance company and planned to push for changes.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)