US Stock Futures Point to Cautious Friday Open Amid Roller Coaster Week

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied a slip of 20.82 points for the index at Friday’s open, as of 1:33 a.m. ET Friday. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures, on the other hand, pointed to fractional gains for the two indexes when they open.

The moves overnight come after a wild day on Wall Street that saw stock indexes recover from steep losses to post solid gains. The Dow closed 260.37 points higher on Thursday and the S&P 500 ended the day up 0.86 percent. The Nasdaq Composite, for its part, closed 0.4 percent higher.

“We’re in the year-end period where there are a lot of folks that have stepped away from the market and therefore some significant changes in buy or sells have a more profound impact on the market,” said Gibson Smith, founder of Smith Capital Investors.

“There’s another big component: A lot of focus-driven issues are being driven to a head. Some of it is on trade, some of it on the government shutdown, the Federal Reserve versus Donald Trump, they are all coming to a head at a time when there is a lot of illiquidity in the market.”

“I think the market is growing tired of some of the uncertainty and some of the erratic nature of communication that has come out. That’s causing some of the volatility,” Smith added. “The volatility is going to continue and it’s going to continue into the New Year. There are still a lot of unresolved issues that sit on the horizon.”

Thursday’s gains during the cash session added to Wednesday’s historic rally in which the major indexes had their best day in nearly 10 years.

Stocks are still, however, on track for their worst December performance since 1931. The S&P 500 is still down 9.8 percent so far this month, while the Dow has lost 9.4 percent during the period.

“When you look at more economically sensitive stocks in the United States today, they’re priced as if a recession is a forgone conclusion,” Sean Stannard-Stockton, president and chief investment officer at Ensemble Capital Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

That, he said, “might happen, but it also might not.”

“We definitely think that investors in kind of more economically sensitive, high-quality businesses are going to be well rewarded for buying stocks at these prices,” Stannard-Stockton said.