Stock futures edged higher on Thursday as investors awaited new inflation data and focused on the outcome of the U.S. election.
Futures related to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 28 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures rose 0.1% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.2%.
The day’s losses came as the Dow fell 646.89 points or 1.95%. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 fell nearly 2.5% and about 2.1%, respectively.
The drop was due to uncertain votes in the U.S. midterm elections. Markets had expected Republicans to take full control of the House and Senate on Tuesday — a situation that would create a gridlock in Washington, D.C. Conversely, key Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada remain tightly contested. In fact, the Senate race between Democratic incumbents Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker is headed for a runoff in December.
The pain in the stock market worsened late Wednesday after cryptocurrency exchange Binance said it would withdraw from plans to acquire its rival FTX. This dragged down the tech sector and pulled the price of Bitcoin to its lowest point in 2020.
Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at the Alliance of Independent Advisors, said the lack of clarity on the election and uncertainty over the upcoming October consumer price index data and corporate earnings reports were drivers of the sell-off.
“These three things lead to uncertainty,” he said. “And, as we all know, markets really don’t like uncertainty.”
Investors’ next focus will be the October CPI report, due at 8:30 am ET on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the headline CPI to rise 0.6% in October from September, or 7.9% from a year earlier. This is an important report from the Fed, which will meet again in mid-December.
Weekly jobless claims will also be released Thursday morning.