Trish: Markets Mixed Ahead Of Fed’s Minutes–Oil Surges, Mortgage Applications Tank

S&P stock futures rose and Dow futures moved lower as investors waited to sift to the Fed’s minutes for any sign of tapering Wednesday morning.

Investors are eager to see the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The FOMC is the main regulatory body that sets monetary policy.

It’s possible some investors might overreact to any mention of tapering–despite that being exactly what the Fed needs to prevent runaway inflation. In my view, they should welcome a pullback in the $120 billion a month bond purchasing program as it would send the right signal that the economy is stabilizing. With consumer prices up 5% from last year, inflation is settling in and needs to be managed sooner rather than later.

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Elsewhere, mortgage applications sank to their lowest levels since the pandemic started, according to Mortgage Bankers Association index. Wednesday’s data release saw mortgage applications drop 1.8% last week, the lowest level since at the start of 2020.

Mortgage refinancing applications dropped 2% for the week, and are currently 8% lower than a year ago.

Equities

U.S. stock futures were steady in premarket trading.

  • S&P 500 futures: 4,342.00, +0.18%
  • Nasdaq futures: 14,846.00, +0.48%
  • DOW futures: 34,498.00, +0.11%

U.S. Dollar and Treasuries

Treasury yields stabilized ahead of the Fed meeting, after falling to their lowest level since February in Tuesday’s trading. The dollar was stable against a basket of major currencies.

  • U.S. Dollar Index (DXY): 92.54, -0.01%
  • 10-year Treasury yield: 1.370%
  • 2-year Treasury yield: 0.220%

Stocks To Watch

Stocks of an IT management firm Data Storage Corp surged in premarket trading after jumping 24% during Tuesday’s trading. The surge is not linked to any company news and appears to be driven by retail investors. Retail investors are attracted to stocks with small floats, as their price is more easily influenced by demand.

Another “meme stock” with a small float is BSQUARE, which dropped 20% in premarket trading, after Tuesday’s surge of almost 80%.

Opiant Pharmaceuticals posted positive results for its OPNT003 nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray. The spray is set to be used as a treatment for opioid overdose.

Chinese music promoter Pop Culture Group posted gains after falling more than 40% on Tuesday’s trading.

  • DTST Data Storage Corp $13.00, +78.33%, 2.23M (volume)
  • OPNT Opiant Pharmaceuticals $18.65, +40.40%, 168.12K (volume)
  • CPOP Pop Culture Group $35.50, +11.78%, 378.97K (volume)
  • BSQR BSQUARE Corporation $5.670, -19.57%, 1.94M (volume)

Commodities To Watch

Oil extended its gains as OPEC+ failed to agree on increased production quotas. Gold strengthened.

  • WTI crude: $74.65, +1.74%
  • Brent crude: $75.70, -+1.57%
  • Gold: $1,808.60, +0.80%

Crypto

The global crypto market cap increased by 3.05% in the last 24 hours.

  • BTC: $34,886.20, +$2.74%
  • ETH: $2,391.02, +5.24%
  • DOGE: $0.2353, +0.68%
  • LINK: $20.75, +9.23%
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