U.S. futures point to another sell-off as inflation fears weigh

Wall Street

Iceland, New Zealand hike rates

U.S. stock futures were tumbling Wednesday morning as soaring energy prices fueled fears that major central banks will tighten monetary policy to counter inflation.

Overnight, the central bank of New Zealand announced a 25 basis point rate hike, citing concerns of growing inflation expectations and surging home prices. The central bank of Iceland also hiked its benchmark rate from 1.25% to 1.50%.

As of 5:40 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 392 points, or 1.15% to 33,791.

S&P 500 futures gave away 59.75 points, or 1.38% to 4,274.25 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures plummeted 224.75 points, or 1.53% to 14,430.50.

The slump in the futures market also came as U.S. crude prices hit their highest level since 2014, extending their recent rally partly due to rising demand and tight supplies.

ADP jobs data on tap

Meanwhile, market participants are eying the release of private-sector payrolls report for September from Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP)

Economists expect the report to show payrolls rose to 430,000 in September, up from 374,000 in August.

The report comes ahead of tomorrow’s jobless claims data and the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report for September, due Friday morning.

Zuckerberg responds amid claims Facebook prioritizes profits over safety

In other news, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hit back at whistleblower Frances Haugen’s claims that the company chooses profits over user safety.

In a post on his Facebook profile Tuesday, Zuckerberg said that Haugen’s testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee painted a “false picture of the company.”

“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” the Facebook founder said. “We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content.”

Zuckerberg made the statement just hours after Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, told a Senate Commerce subcommittee that decisions made at Facebook harm young people and were disastrous.

As of this writing, Facebook stock was marked $4.43, or 1.33% lower to $328.53 per share in the pre-market trading session.