December 21, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 4 months ago

Futures extend slide on growth fears, government shutdown threat

(Reuters) - S&P 500 e-minis logged their biggest losing streak in seven years on Friday, dropping about 0.6 percent on growing worries of slowing global growth and the threat of a U.S. government shutdown.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Federal Reserve’s plan, announced Wednesday, to keep raising interest rates was an added headache for investors already fearful that trade wars and other geopolitical concerns would grind economic and corporate growth to a halt.

The U.S. central bank’s view that the economy is strong will be tested amid a slew of economic data, including third-quarter GDP and November consumer spending, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation.

Adding to the nerves was a chance that the government could be shut down unless President Donald Trump and Congress cut a deal before midnight on their long-running battle over funds for a Mexico border wall.

Volatility may rise again on Friday on account of “quadruple witching,” as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration.

“The indices are headed for another volatile, negative session as options expirations, turmoil in the White House and a renewed possibility of a partial government shutdown continue to shatter the nerves of investors,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

One silver lining was Nike Inc (NKE.N), whose shares jumped 8.5 percent in premarket trading after the company’s quarterly results beat Wall Street estimates on strength in North America.

At 7:29 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 0.57 percent, falling for the seventh session in a row, their longest losing streak since November 2011.

Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 0.46 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 0.73 percent.

The three main Wall Street indices are already in correction territory, having fallen more than 10 percent from their record closing highs, and are closing in on bear market territory, when a security closes 20 percent below a recent high.

While the Nasdaq came within a whisker of bear market territory on Thursday, other segments of the market, including the Russell 2000 small-cap benchmark and the Dow Jones Transport Average .DJT are already in bear market territory.

Data is also expected to show U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 3.5 percent, in line with the prior quarter.

While consumer spending in November is likely to have slowed from the month before, the core PCE index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, is expected to have edged higher.

Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with data showing durable goods orders rebounded 1.6 percent in November, after a drop of 4.3 percent in the previous month.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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