U.S. stock futures fell Wednesday as markets remain shaky in what has been a volatile week.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged on Tuesday to its biggest gain since 2009 after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep its key interest rate at nearly zero into 2013. The central bank also said it considered other “policy tools” to spur economic growth. Some investors took that to mean that more stimulus may be coming.
But the Fed’s statement included a dim outlook on the economy’s strength. It said growth this year has been “considerably slower” than it expected and that it anticipates a slower pace of recovery over coming quarters.
The statement “was essentially a full admission that the Fed had not fully gotten their arms around the permanence to the weak trends in the economy,” William O’Donnell, head of U.S. Treasury strategy at RBS Securities, wrote in a report.
As recently as June, the Fed said that the recovery was slowing because of temporary factors, such as high gasoline prices and the disruption to manufacturers following a March earthquake that struck Japan. But on Tuesday, the central bank said those factors were only part of the reason that the economy grew at its slowest pace in the first half of this year since the recession ended in June 2009.
Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 113 points, or 1 percent, to 11,081. S&P 500 futures fell 13, or 1.1 percent, to 1,158.70. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 27.25, or 1.3 percent, to 2,127.75.
Stock futures don’t always accurately predict how the market will open.
The Dow’s gain of more than 429 points on Tuesday was its tenth-highest in history. But it followed an even worse loss on Monday of 634.76 points. That was the first trading day since Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. one notch from its top AAA credit rating to AA+. Last week, worries about the slowing economy and Europe’s debt troubles also knocked down stocks.
The Dow is down 337.74 points for the year, or 2.9 percent. It’s at the same level it was at in December.
Gold rose $26 per ounce to $1,769. Investors traditionally run to gold when they are looking for something safe.
The 10-year Treasury note, which has also served as a safe haven for investors despite the S&P downgrade, also rose. Its yield fell to 2.22 percent from 2.26 percent late Tuesday. A bond’s yield falls when its price rises. The 10-year note’s yield briefly fell to a record low of 2.03 percent on Tuesday, shortly after the Fed released its statement.
Concerns about the global economy have overshadowed what has been another strong reporting season for companies’ earnings.
The Walt Disney Co. said late Tuesday that its net income rose 11 percent last quarter. Stronger revenue from its ESPN sports television network and theme parks made up for lacklustre box-office results. Disney’s results were above analysts’ expectations, but its stock fell 3.2 percent in premarket trading.
Capital One Financial Corp. rose 3 percent ahead of the bell after it said it will buy the U.S. credit card arm of Britain’s HSBC for a premium of about $2.6 billion.