Skip to main content

Though Friday’s session tacked on gains to an already positive week, the day’s (and week’s) action in the S&P 500 index futures was anything but smooth.

Following Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL) and Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) well-received earnings reports released after hours Thursday, the overnight session began well in the green for the index futures, and they remained in that area. During early morning premarket hours, more earnings from energy heavyweights such as Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) weren’t having much of an impact on the index. It wasn’t until Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) data was released at 8:30am EDT that the index futures had a major move. 

March’s PCE and Core PCE (MoM) came within expectations, both at 0.3%. However, March’s PCE and Core PCE (YoY) came in above expectations at 2.7% vs. 2.6% exp. and 2.8% vs. 2.6% exp., respectively. In addition, Personal Spending (MoM) for March came in at 0.8%, compared to 0.6% expected. There was an initial pop in the index futures, when algo’s likely processed the data, but that was followed up with a small selloff as market participants further digested the news. The index futures went from fresh premarket highs right down to make new premarket lows before the regular session opened.

By the opening bell, the index futures were still well in the green, and buyers soon stepped in just below the premarket low. Within the first hour of trading, the bulls were almost able to test the premarket high, coming up just short of that level. As the bears put on some selling pressure, the bulls took a stand at last week’s highs in the 5123 area. From there, the bulls were finally able to establish a bid and take the index futures to fresh highs on the day, but not by much.

In the final half hour of the regular session, resistance near the intraday highs turned into selling pressure, taking the index futures back down to where they started in overnight trading. The regular session concluded at 5131.50, up by 49.25 handles. That makes for a 127.75 handle or 2.55% gain for the earnings-packed week.

Among the top components of the index, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was clearly the biggest gainer. Within their earnings report, which beat Q1 estimates across the board, a $70 billion stock buyback program was also announced. Many analysts subsequently raised their price targets, adding to overall confidence in the company. The tech titan was able to advance by $15.95 or 10.22% to close at $171.95 for the day, a new all-time closing high for the issue.

That performance beat the cash index’s advance of 0.95% over tenfold.

As value-based plays took the back seat in today’s session, the biggest loser ended up being Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK-B). For the day, the issue declined by $2.81 or 0.69% to close at $402.10.