Nasdaq set for lower open as Nvidia, Big Tech weigh

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Devik Jain

(Reuters) – The Nasdaq index was set for a lower open on Monday as mega-cap technology firms slipped and shares of Nvidia led declines among major chipmakers, while Dow futures were supported by a rise in economy-sensitive stocks.

Nvidia Corp slipped 3.6% in premarket trading, adding to a 4.5% drop on Friday after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued to block its more than $80 billion deal to buy British chip technology provider Arm.

EU antitrust regulators have temporarily halted their investigation into the takeover deal as they await more information.

Peers Qualcomm Inc and Advanced Micro Devices Inc and heavyweight growth stocks Microsoft Corp, Google-owner Alphabet Inc, Meta Platforms, Amazon.com Inc and Tesla Inc fell between 0.5% and 2.1%.

On the other hand, Occidental Petroleum, up 1.7%, led gains among the energy stocks tracking oil prices. [O/R]

Wells Fargo was the biggest gainer among big lenders, rising 1.2%.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. states as of Sunday. Although Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, told CNN “thus far it does not look like there's a great degree of severity to it”.

Goldman Sachs on Saturday cut its outlook for U.S. economic growth to 3.8% for 2022, citing risks and uncertainty around the emergence of the latest variant.

Wall Street's major indexes registered weekly declines on Friday, swinging wildly as investors digested Omicron news and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's hawkish comments about speedier taper to tackle surging inflation.

Powell's comments also spurred bets of early interest rate hikes next year, with market participants shifting to cyclical, economy-linked and so-called value names from tech-heavy growth stocks, expecting them to perform better in an environment of tightening monetary policy.

The S&P 500 value index fell about 0.9% last week, but still outperforming its growth counterpart, which dropped 1.5%.

At 6:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 198 points, or 0.57%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.23%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 55.75 points, or 0.35%.

After a mixed jobs report last week, focus will now be on the release of consumer price index and core inflation readings on Friday for clues on the trajectory of the Fed's policy decision at its December meeting.

Kohl's Corp rose 2.7% after hedge fund Engine Capital LP said it is pushing the department-store chain to consider a sale of the company or separate its e-commerce division to improve its lagging stock price.

(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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