Wall Street set to slide on inflation worries

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes were set to open lower on Monday as surging commodity prices added to inflation worries, clouding expectations for third quarter earnings season set to start with Wall Street banks later this week.

FILE PHOTO: A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Rising raw material costs, labor shortages and other supply chain bottlenecks have raised concerns of elevated prices denting corporate profit.

U.S. oil rose nearly 3% and touched a seven-year high as an energy crisis gripping the major economies showed no sign of easing.

But it lifted shares of Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp and APA Corp between 1.5% and 3.2% in premarket trading.

Mega-caps Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc fell between 0.4% and 0.7%.

“There are undoubtedly significant risks to growth borne out of the recent rise in prices, with surging natural gas prices bringing the potential for sharp increases to both energy and food expenses,” Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG wrote in a client note.

“Inflation looks like it will be here for some time.”

At 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.05%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 9.75 points, or 0.22%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 73.25 points, or 0.49%.

Earnings season will kick off this week, with JPMorgan Chase & Co reporting on Wednesday, followed by Bank of America Corp, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc on Thursday and Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Friday.

“There is pre earnings jitters… investors are worried about what companies are going to say about future earnings forecasts,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut.

“Any earnings miss will probably be because of supply chain disruptions, not being able to get enough products on the shelf, or having the products in the wrong place or sitting in ports.”

Analysts see a 29.6% year-over-year increase in profit for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Friday, down from 96.3% growth in the second quarter.

All of Wall Street’s main indexes had ended the last week with gains, but investors still expect the Federal Reserve to begin tapering asset purchases later this year.

After data last week showed weaker jobs growth than expected in September, investors are now looking toward inflation and retail sales numbers this week, as well as minutes of the Fed’s last meeting that could confirm that a November tapering was discussed.

Southwest Airlines Co slipped 2.9% on a report that it canceled at least 30% of its scheduled flights on Sunday.

U.S. bond markets were shut on Monday on account of Columbus Day.

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