Stock futures rise as Wall Street tries to curb the latest wave of selling

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U.S. stock futures rose on Wednesday night after concerns over the U.S. economy and the market’s overall valuation sparked another sell-off in equities earlier in the day.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 88 points higher, or 0.35%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also gained 0.3% each.

The Dow and S&P 500 fell 2.2% and 1.8%, respectively, during regular trading hours while the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.6%. Those declines followed a stark warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

“While the economic response has been both timely and appropriately large, it may not be the final chapter, given that the path ahead is both highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks,” he said, noting more needs to be down to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Powell made his comments as several states begin to reopen their economies.

“There are a lot of variables in terms of really how the economy opens here. It’s going to be very uneven,” said Gregory Faranello, head of U.S. rates trading at AmeriVet Securities. In terms of additional efforts, Faranello said the Fed could implement some “yield curve control,” among other measures.

“From a capital perspective and a leverage perspective, the Fed can grow the existing programs that they have online,” Faranello said.

Market sentiment was also dented earlier on Wednesday after two major investors raised questions about the market’s current valuation. Appaloosa’s David Tepper told CNBC’s “Halftime Report” this is the second-most overvalued market he’s seen, behind only the one in 1999. Meanwhile, Stanley Druckenmiller of Duquesne Family Office said Tuesday said “risk-reward for equity is maybe as bad as I’ve seen it in my career.”

Despite the sharp drop on Wednesday, the S&P 500 remains more than 28% above its March 23 low. The Dow has also rallied more than 27% since then as shares of major tech companies surged.

“Those stocks that we’re doing well before all this are the ones that did well” after the initial sell-off, said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management. “It’s like the big get bigger and stronger.”

Still, Clark highlighted the uncertainty investors currently face, noting: “Nobody’s ever been through anything like this. … For now, we’re just hoping we’re finding the right businesses that can continue to grow and take share and come out stronger.”

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