https://www.oann.com/futures-muted-as-wall-st-heads-for-worst-quarter-since-2020/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=futures-muted-as-wall-st-heads-for-worst-quarter-since-2020

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 31, 2022

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures were subdued on Thursday as investors focused on the raging conflict in Ukraine and the outlook for U.S. interest rate hikes, with the main indexes on course for their worst quarterly performance since the pandemic crash in 2020.

Much of the optimism seen earlier this week around the peace talks faded as Ukrainian forces prepared for fresh Russian attacks in the southeast region. The countries will resume peace talks online on April 1.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron both fell nearly 2% in premarket trading, tracking a 5% tumble in crude prices after news that the United States was considering a record release of reserves. [O/R]

Still, the S&P 500 energy index is the top sectoral performer this quarter, headed for its best quarterly show ever as oil prices have rallied due to supply tightness from the war and Western sanctions on Russia, the second-largest crude exporter.

The war-induced surge in commodity prices has amplified concerns about inflation, currently at a 40-year high in the United States, and a more hawkish Federal Reserve, setting the three main U.S. indexes on course for their worst quarter since March 2020.

However, the benchmark S&P 500 index has rebounded more than 5% this month, powered by upbeat economic data and recovery in megacap stocks.

Tesla Inc, Apple, Meta Platforms Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Microsoft Corp edged higher.

At 07:11 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 22 points, or 0.06%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.75 points, or 0.02%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 37.25 points, or 0.25%.

U.S.-listed shares of Baidu slipped 2.2% after the Chinese search engine giant said it was exploring options after it was added to a U.S. securities regulator’s list of companies facing the risk of being delisted. Its streaming affiliate iQIYI dropped 5.2%.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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