NEW YORK, March 17 — US stock indexes were set to open lower today as investors assessed the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance in the face of surging inflation, while keeping a wary eye on developments around the Ukraine crisis.

Signs of progress in talks to end what Russia calls “a special military operation” had helped global stocks surge this week, but the Kremlin said there was no deal yet.

The S&P 500  closed up more than 2 per cent yesterday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rallied almost 4 per cent, after the US central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points as expected and forecast equivalent hikes at every meeting this year.

“There are lot of things in there (Fed statement) that actually should have prevented this relief in stock markets, so in that sense, I think it was a bit overdone,” said Philip Marey, senior US strategist at Rabobank.

“The main thing at the moment is still the negotiations between the Ukrainians and the Russians. It remains to be seen whether the optimism regarding any peace agreement is overdone.”

Shares of big banks slipped in premarket trading, with JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup falling 0.5 per cent each. The US Treasury yield curve flattened to near two-year lows in the wake of the Fed trimming its economic growth forecasts. US

Tesla Inc fell 1.1 per cent to lead losses among megacap growth stocks following a report the electric-car maker delayed a more than US$1 billion offering of bonds backed by leases on its electric vehicles. Read full story

Energy shares rose, as oil prices climbed 4 per cent amid warnings of supply shortages due to a shut-in of Russian oil supplies. O/R

Occidental Petroleum led the gains, up 4.1 per cent. The S&P 500 energy sector  - which has gained 27.8 per cent so far in 2022 on soaring crude prices - logged its fourth straight day of declines in the previous session.

At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 140 points, or 0.41 per cent, S&P 500 e-minis were down 20.5 points, or 0.47 per cent, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 93.25 points, or 0.67 per cent.

Meanwhile, data showed weekly jobless claims fell last week as demand for labour remained strong, positioning the economy for another month of solid job gains.

The CBOE volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose after closing at its lowest level since Feb. 18 yesterday.

Accenture Plc rose 2.8 per cent after the IT consulting firm forecast upbeat third-quarter revenue even as it warned of impact to operations if the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates. Read full story

Ralph Lauren Corp gained 3.9 per cent after JP Morgan upgraded the affordable luxury apparel maker’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral”. — Reuters