Fed announces plans to taper its asset-buying program; stock futures mixed


Traders digest Fed decision

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a mixed open on Thursday after the Federal Reserve formally announced it will begin tapering its pandemic-era stimulus program this month.

In a statement shortly after concluding its FOMC meeting, the Fed said it will start phasing out bond purchases by $15 billion per month, and left the door open to alter that plan should the economic outlook shift because of the pandemic.

The central bank also reiterated that the current U.S. inflation level is “transitory,” and is caused by post-pandemic supply chain issues.

At around 5:55 a.m. ET, futures tied to the blue-chip Dow Jones were down 30 points, or 0.08% to 36,005. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 56.5 points, or 0.35% to 16,186.25 while S&P 500 were flat.

Crude jumps as OPEC+ meets

In energy markets, crude futures were rising early Thursday as traders awaited the start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, later in the day.

Expectations are for the cartel to stick to its plans of keeping monthly production hikes steady, despite outside pressure to raise production.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden blamed the current high oil prices on the refusal by Russia and OPEC+ to ramp up production.

As of 5:55 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 62 cents, or 0.77% to $81.48 a barrel. Global Brent crude futures were at $82.91, up 92 cents, or 1.12% a barrel.

Airbnb, Peloton, Moderna, Pinterest earnings on tap

Today’s earnings calendar includes Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC), Airbnb (NASDAQ: ABNB), Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ: PTON), and Pinterest (NYSE: PINS).

Analysts expect Airbnb to report earnings of 75 cents per share on revenue of $2.04 billion for the latest quarter. Peloton is seen reporting earnings of $1.07 per share on revenue of $810.76 million.

Pinterest is projected to post earnings of 23 cents per share on revenue of $631.24 million. Drugmaker Moderna is expected to have earned $9.09 per share and revenue of $6.23 billion.