U.S. stock futures edged lower Friday as investors assessed fresh waves of Covid-19 infections globally that could hamper global supply chains and drive up inflation.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked down 0.6%, a day after it closed at a record. The broad market index remains on track for its best month since November. Nasdaq-100 futures declined 0.8%, suggesting that technology shares may be among the weakest performers after the opening bell.
Rising Covid-19 cases in Brazil and India and signs of weakening in China’s manufacturing sector are sapping some of the optimism that took the major indexes up to all-time highs earlier in the week. New variants are threatening to hobble global travel, convulse supply chains further and slow the recovery, investors say.
Signs that the U.S. growth is accelerating are also stoking concern that inflation may rise too much, driven by a persistent shortage of products like electronic chips and the prospect of more fiscal stimulus flooding markets. Persistent inflation can erode portfolio returns.
“That is where the market is, wrestling between those two,” said Edward Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald.