By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday, as a batch of weak Chinese data raised concerns about global growth a day after the Federal Reserve hinted at gradual tightening of borrowing costs.
This gave investors a reason to keep away from risky assets, with worries about rising interest rates and the effects of the U.S.-China trade war taking the shine off a decade-long bull run for U.S. stocks this year.
The S&P energy sector (), which is down 4.85 percent this year and is lagging the broader S&P 500 index (), could come under more pressure as U.S. crude price () continues to lose ground.
It has fallen more than 20 percent from its Oct.3 high, confirming a bear market as investors focused on swelling global crude supply.
Shares of miner Freeport McMoran Inc (N:) dropped 2.8 percent in premarket trading as price of the metal, considered an economic bellwether, hit a one-week low.
Trade-sensitive stocks such as Boeing Co (N:) and Caterpillar Inc (N:) fell more than 1 percent.
“Worries about trade war and how the slowdown in China will impact the rest of the world mean stocks appear to be more risky, so there’s a typical risk-off move in markets today,” said DZ Bank rates strategist Pascal Segesser.
Despite the worries, the main U.S. stock indexes are on track to post strong weekly gains as the midterm elections on Tuesday offered relief to investors, with the results coming in largely as anticipated.
The Fed, as expected, left interest rates unchanged following a two-day meeting on Thursday. Their policy statement signaled more rate hikes on the way with the next one expected in December, their fourth this year.
Some traders had speculated the Fed may tone down its rhetoric to calm financial markets that were roiled in October, partly on worries about rising interest rates.
At 7:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis () were down 128 points, or 0.49 percent. S&P 500 e-minis () were down 15.25 points, or 0.54 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis () were down 59 points, or 0.82 percent.
General Electric (N:) fell 2.9 percent after J.P. Morgan cut price target on the stock to $6 from $10.
Activision Blizzard Inc (O:) fell 11.2 percent after the video game publisher forecast fourth-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates.
Skyworks Solutions Inc (O:) also fell 7.3 percent after the analog chipmaker provided weak first-quarter forecast, raising concerns of slowing demand for premium smartphones.
Among the few bright spots, Walt Disney Co (N:), a member of the , rose 1.6 percent after the media company reported better-than-expected results as its theme parks and Marvel movie “Ant-Man and the Wasp” attracted crowd.
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