Nasdaq futures edge higher as Microsoft shines By Reuters
2023-11-20 21:20:04

By Amruta Khandekar and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) -Futures tracking the Nasdaq edged higher on Monday as Microsoft (NASDAQ:) gained on news that former OpenAI head Sam Altman will join the software giant, while investors awaited more clues regarding when the Federal Reserve might begin cutting interest rates.

Microsoft's shares advanced 2% before the bell after CEO Satya Nadella said Altman is set to join the company to lead a new advanced AI research team.

Other megacap stocks were mixed, with Nvidia (NASDAQ:) edging 0.6% higher, while Alphabet (NASDAQ:) slipped 0.8%.

The three main U.S. stock indexes have staged a stellar rebound in November, posting gains for the third week in a row on Friday as evidence of easing U.S. inflation supported bets that the Fed was done raising interest rates.

The benchmark is now only 2% away from its highest level this year reached in July.

"While a ‘wait and see mood’ has descended, confidence is still quietly bubbling that interest rate cuts could be on the horizon," Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown wrote in a note.

"Concerns that there could be another grinch-like hike from the Fed in December have retreated and more bets are being placed that a reduction could come in the Spring."

Traders have nearly fully priced in the likelihood that the Fed will keep interest rates unchanged in December, with odds of an at least 25 basis point rate cut in May standing at about 60%, according to the CME Group's (NASDAQ:) FedWatch tool.

A number of catalysts will set the tone for markets this week.

Chip designer Nvidia is due to report quarterly results on Tuesday, wrapping up the third-quarter earnings season for the "Magnificent Seven" group of megacap companies.

The Fed is expected to issue minutes of its November meeting on Tuesday, which will be parsed for clues on the direction of U.S. interest rates. Black Friday sales will provide a gauge on the state of U.S. consumer spending.

At 6:56 a.m. ET, were up 18 points, or 0.05%, were up 3.5 points, or 0.08%, and were up 28.25 points, or 0.18%.

Among other movers, Bristol Myers (NYSE:) Squibb fell 4% premarket as Germany's Bayer (OTC:) on Sunday stopped a late-stage trial testing a new anti-clotting drug, hurting investor confidence in all firms developing similar class of drugs.

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