Stock futures TK after Walmart, Home Depot help build on recent rally

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Stock futures were mostly flat on Wednesday morning after two of the country’s big box chains, Walmart and Home Depot, pushed the Dow and S&P 500 higher and set the stage for more retail earnings this week.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.09% and 0.17%, respectively.

In regular trading, the Dow ended the day up 239 points, or 0.7% and the S&P added 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.2%.

Retailers led the market higher thanks in large part to strong quarterly results from both Walmart and Home Depot, which were the biggest gainers in the 30-stock Dow, and pulled others such as Target, Best Buy and Bath & Body Works up with them.

The Dow notched its fifth straight day of gains. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is going for its fifth up week in a row as investors continue to gauge how much strength this rally has. The broad market index is now up 18% from its June lows.

“This market has been so resilient,” Brynn Talkington, managing partner of Requisite Capital Management, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “As we’re coming to a close on earnings, earnings are going to beat by a median of about 7%.”

Giving her “a great deal of pause” in this market is the Federal Reserve and its plans to continue raising rates and shrink the size of its balance sheet. “Earnings have still been strong, but…the Fed balance sheet hasn’t budged,” she said.

Gabriela Santos, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, agreed investors need to be on alert for more volatility on the way.

“Real yields are set to increase further in the fall, which could pressure growth stocks once again,” she said. “[With] the macro story that’s recently taken hold and led to some more broad-based gains in the market – it’s way too early to be having any kind of conviction that we truly know the shape of inflation going into the fall or next year, or that we know how the Fed will react to that inflation.”

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