Dow futures rise 135 pts; second quarter starts with soaring oil prices

Dow futures rise 135 pts; second quarter starts with soaring oil prices
© Reuters

By Peter Nurse — U.S. stocks are seen opening in a mixed fashion Monday, as investors digest a sharp rise in oil prices and the potential inflationary impact at the start of the second quarter. 

At 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT), the contract was up 135 points, or 0.4%, while dropped 4 points, or 0.1%, and fell 80 points, or 0.6%.

The main indices enter the second quarter fresh off a positive start to the year. 

The blue chip gained just 0.4% in the first three months of the year, hampered by weakness in the banking sector, while the broad-based rose 7%, its second-straight positive quarter. The led the way, gaining almost 17%, its largest quarterly percentage increase since 2020.

The week’s highlight will be the release of the monthly on Friday, with economists expecting the U.S. economy to have added 238,000 jobs in March after an increase of 311,000 in February. 

The nonfarm payrolls report will be the last before the Fed’s upcoming May .

However, the main focus Monday will be on the surging oil prices in the wake of the surprise decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, to cut its oil production target by a further 1 million barrels a day from May.

By 07:00 ET, futures traded 5.4% higher at $79.79 a barrel, while the contract climbed 5.2% to $84.08. 

Higher oil prices are widely seen as unhelpful to a world economy still grappling with elevated inflation. The market is currently split about the likelihood of one last Fed hike next month, and a surge in energy costs could be seen as tipping the balance towards more tightening, especially if Friday’s data shows that the labor market remains buoyant. 

Further tightening could hit the tech sector hard, with Morgan Stanley warning, in a recent note, that the rally in tech stocks isn’t sustainable and that the sector will return to new lows.

In corporate news, Tesla (NASDAQ:) will be in the spotlight after the electric car manufacturer hit a new record for car deliveries in the first quarter, dispatching over 422,000 cars in the three months through March, up 36% from a year earlier and up 4% from the December quarter. 

Although this falls short of CEO Elon Musk’s implicit target of over 50% growth, growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year as output ramps up at the company’s newer factories.

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:) stock fell premarket Monday, extending losses seen in the final session of last week that were sparked by a decision from China to launch a review of imports from the U.S. memory-chip maker.

Additionally, rose 0.1% to $1,989.05/oz, while traded 0.3% higher at 1.0868.

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