Stocks Falter as Fed Holds off on Rate Cuts

Stock futures were slightly lower on Monday morning after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell dashed investor hopes for interest rate cuts in the near term.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials index retreated 61 points, or 0.2%, to 38,704.

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 6.25 points, or 0.1%, at 4,974.

Futures for the NASDAQ handed back one point to 17,731.50.

“We want to see more evidence that inflation is moving sustainably down to 2%,” Powell said in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. “Our confidence is rising. We just want some more confidence before we take that very important step of beginning to cut interest rates.”

Those comments echo remarks made by Powell last week, after the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting. After the Fed kept interest rates unchanged, Powell said that a rate cut in March was unlikely.

Elsewhere, earnings season stretched on, with McDonald’s shares slipping nearly 1% before the bell after posting mixed quarterly results.

Monday’s moves come after the three major averages rose for the 13th week out of 14, powered by a stronger-than-expected January jobs report and solid earnings reports from Microsoft and Meta Platforms.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.5% Monday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index settled 0.2%.

Oil prices fell 21 cents to $72.07 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices descended $15.60 to $2,038.10 U.S. an ounce.