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US stock futures fall as Fed Outlook rattles investors

US stock futures fell on Thursday, pointing to a tightening route in the S&P 500 as investors became alarmed by the Federal Reserve’s poor outlook as well as conflicting signals about when vaccines may become available.

Futures linked to the S&P 500 fell 1.1%, suggesting that the benchmark may fall another day after the opening clock in New York. Contracts tied to the Nasdaq Composite fell about 1.5%, pushing the tech-heavy index further into negative territory during the month.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments on Wednesday that the economic outlook is “very uncertain” weigh the mood. Political decision-makers expressed concern that easy gains from reopening the economy could hide deeper scars among the most vulnerable companies, where people are likely to face longer periods of unemployment. The central bank also signaled that interest rates would remain close to zero until 2023.

“The Fed said it would keep interest rates low for ages. But that̵

7;s not enough, ”said James Athey, senior chief investment officer at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “Not taking away is no longer sufficient for this market. You have to do more, more, more. ”

Some investors were hoping for more specificity about the forward-looking guidance: how far above 2% are decision makers willing to let inflation go, and for how long? Fed officials did not offer such details Wednesday.

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