Stock futures headed for a higher open Friday morning after Russian President Vladimir Putin at least momentarily struck an upbeat tone about diplomatic discussions with Ukraine.
Contracts on the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq each rose more than 1% in pre-market trading. The S&P 500 and Dow were on track to still post weekly losses, while the Nasdaq Composite aimed for a slight weekly gain if advances hold through market close.
Crude oil prices edged higher after tumbling on Thursday, when U.S. West Texas intermediate slid back below $110 per barrel after topping as much as $130 a barrel in recent sessions. Still, gas prices at the pump rose to fresh highs.
Apparently upbeat developments in Russia’s discussions with Ukraine helped at least temporarily send investors back into risk assets. Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that there were “certain positive developments” occurring in the talks with Ukraine, according to a transcript of their meeting. Putin added that discussions were happening “almost on a daily basis.”
The news also helped traders look past another report showing decades-high inflation and shake off some of the volatility from recent sessions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February Consumer Price Index (CPI) this week showed another surge in prices even before Russia escalated its attacks in Ukraine. The headline CPI — soaring 7.9% over last year — underscored the sticky inflationary pressures reverberating across the U.S. economy, with everything from groceries to rents and airline fares getting more expensive for everyday consumers.
“The inflation fire was already hot and now with war-driven inflation added to the mix, it will grow even hotter, setting off a scramble by the world’s central banks to pull back their stimulus earlier than expected,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS, wrote in an email. “A spike in inflation rates has preceded economic recessions historically and this time prices have soared to levels that once again pose a threat to growth.”
“Markets were cheering this economic recovery and return to strong economic growth, but the cheers will turn to tears if the inflation outbreak pushes businesses and consumers to the brink of recession,” he added.
And indeed, volatility has been a hallmark of the market environment so far in 2022, with the S&P 500 still down more than 10% for the year-to-date after first sliding into a correction last month. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, has held at a lofty level of more than 30.
“We’re seeing really dramatic moves, and it’s all really tied to Ukraine right now, and in a secondary way, in terms of interest rates,” Octavio Marenzi, CEO of Opimas, told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday. “This war in Ukraine is going to give the Fed the ammunition, the cover that it needs, to not raise interest rates too quickly. And I think Jay Powell is a very tepid sort of inflation fighter and he’s not going to do as much as he needs to do to get that under control. And this seems like an excuse to kick the can further down the road still and not do too much too soon.”
7:44 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures rise, Dow futures gain 350 points
Here’s where stocks were trading Friday morning:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 56.25 points ( 1.32%) to 4,313.5
Dow futures (YM=F): 379 points ( 1.14%) to 33,531.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 231.25 points ( 1.7%) to 13,817.25
Crude (CL=F): $0.85 ( 0.8%) to $106.87 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): -$30.40 (-1.52%) to $1,970.00 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): 0.9 bps to yield 2.018%
6:10 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures extend losses
Here’s where stocks were trading Thursday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): -3 points (-0.07%) to 4,254.25
Dow futures (YM=F): 55 points ( 0.17%) to 33,207.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -22 points (-0.16%) to 13,564.00
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter