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Stock futures are little changed as S&P 500 remains range-bound near record

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Stock futures were flat on Wednesday as Wall Street appeared to be pegged to a range near record levels.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 29 points lower. S&P 500 futures were essentially flat. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.1%.

Pre-trading was quiet, although reopenings such as Carnival Corp. and American Airlines were slightly higher in early trading.

The meme stock mania should continue Wednesday, with day traders now turning their attention to Clover Health. The stock gained another 18% in pre-trading hours after rallying 85% on Tuesday amid explosive trading volumes. Another name popular among Reddit traders, Wendy’s, gained 25% on Tuesday and was back up in pre-market trading on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 and blue-chip Dow both closed near the flatline on Tuesday. The broad equity benchmark is now just 0.3% below its record high of 4,238.04 on May 7th. Investors wait for the next inflation measurement to assess whether the higher price pressures will be temporary as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic-induced recession.

“US stocks have been largely stuck in a range since mid-April and are unlikely to break out anytime soon,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a press release. “Investors want to see how hot the price pressures will get and how much downtrend in stocks will happen once the Fed’s taper rage begins.”

The consumer price index for May is due to be published on Thursday. According to the Dow Jones, economists expect the consumer price index to increase by 4.7% year-on-year. In April the CPI rose 4.2% on an annual basis, the fastest increase since 2008.

Many on Wall Street believe the latest meme stock episode should be limited to a handful of names, in contrast to the GameStop trading frenzy in January that affected the broader stock market.

“Given the low risk of widespread contagion, we see the consequences of the recent short squeeze as
“Maneesh Deshpande, Global Head of Equity Derivatives Strategy at Barclays, said in a press release.” The current short squeeze is likely to be more localized because the number of stocks with high short interests has decreased dramatically.

On the data front, job vacancies rose to a new record high in April, with 9.3 million jobs posted online as the economy recovered.

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Robert Dunfee