S&P 500 futures tumble after Hamas attacks Israel

U.S. stock futures slid early Monday as investor sentiment was hit by an upsurge of violence in the Middle East.

How are stock-index futures trading

  • S&P 500 futures

    fell 35 points, or 0.8% to 4306

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

    lost 240 points, or 0.7% to 33360

  • Nasdaq 100 futures

    eased 130 points, or 0.9% to 14982

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 288 points, or 0.87%, to 33408, the S&P 500
increased 50 points, or 1.18%, to 4309, and the Nasdaq Composite
gained 212 points, or 1.6%, to 13431.

What’s driving markets

Global markets started the week in risk-off mode after Hamas attacked Israel, raising fears of a broader conflict.

“Such geopolitical tension is traditionally and unsurprisingly negative on sentiment, with investors likely to be unsettled by the prospect of further uncertainty,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

The price of Brent crude
the global energy benchmark, jumped nearly 4% amid concerns oil supplies from the region may be compromised.

“‘The shocking attacks in Israel have sent the price of oil soaring, as investors assess the potential for the conflict to disrupt supply in the Middle East, if other countries are drawn in,” said Susannah Streeter

U.S. stock futures dived as bourses in much of Europe and Asia sold off, while traders moved into the perceived havens of gold
the U.S. dollar
and government bonds, such as the German bund

The U.S. Treasury market is closed on Monday for Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples day, but futures are trading and these indicate falling benchmark yields.

“Geopolitical risk doesn’t tend to linger long in markets but there are many second order impacts that could come through in the weeks, months and years ahead from this weekends’ developments,” said Jim Reid, strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Indeed, traders may find their focus soon switches this week back to monetary and corporate issues. Markets ultimately reacted positively to what on the surface was a strong nonfarm payrolls report published Friday, as traders believed it was not so hot it would move the needle on Fed policy.

With that in mind, the U.S. producer and consumer prices data for September will be published on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, with further evidence of easing price pressure required in order to cement no more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year.

Then Friday sees the start proper of the third-quarter company earnings season, when big banks such as JPMorgan Chase
and Wells Fargo

present their results.

Forecasts suggest analysts have become less confident about corporate profitability in recent weeks. Aggregate S&P 500 earnings are expected to decline by 0.3% for the year to Q3 2023, which would mark the fourth consecutive quarter of falling earnings, according to John Butters, senior earnings analysts at Factset.

Source: Factset

There are no U.S. economic updates set for release on Monday, but there will be some Fedspeak. Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will deliver comments at 9 a.m. Eastern, followed at 12:50 p.m. by Fed Governor Philip Jefferson.

Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat said it would not be lost on the Fed “that the war risks ultimately becoming a downside driver for the U.S. economy via a drop in consumer confidence, or by a disruption in the global economy.”

“Thus, the potential drop in interest rates is not something that necessarily would make the Fed become more hawkish,” Lee added. “Bottom line: The Israel-Gaza war will add uncertainty, but the expected pullback in rates should support stocks.”

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