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Futures falter as Meta Platforms weighs on megacaps

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Futures down: Dow 0.35%, S&P 0.54%, Nasdaq 0.86%

April 25 (Reuters) -U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday, as shares of most megacap growth stocks took a beating after dour quarterly results from Meta Platforms, ahead of more economic data in the week that could influence the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.

Meta META.O plunged 12.9% in premarket trading after the Facebook-parent forecast higher expenses and lighter-than-expected revenue and raising fears the surging cost of AI is outpacing its benefits.

Social media firms like Snap SNAP.N and Pinterest PINS.N slid 4.8% and 4.3%, respectively.

Shares of some other growth stocks also fell, with Alphabet GOOGL.O, Amazon.com AMZN.O and Microsoft MSFT.O down between 1.5% and 2.7%.

"These earnings were a test to see if big tech firms that implement AI tech, rather than make the hardware, can generate revenue from AI. On this front, Meta's earnings were a disappointment," Kathleen Brooks, research director at XTB, said in a note.

Alphabet, Microsoft and Intel INTC.O are scheduled to report their quarterly numbers on Thursday after markets close.

Downbeat results from other technology-linked stocks also weighed on equities. International Business Machines IBM.N dropped 8.5% after the firm said it will buy HashiCorp HCP.O in a deal valued at $6.4 billion, and as its first-quarter revenue missed estimates.

ServiceNow NOW.N shed 4.5% after the digital workflow company forecast second-quarter subscription revenue below market expectations.

On the day, Caterpillar CAT.N, American Airlines AAL.O and Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY.N among others are slated to report results before the opening bell.

With the earnings season in full swing, adjusted blended earnings for the first quarter are expected to grow by 6.4% on a year-on-year basis, as per LSEG data.

Growing tensions in the Middle East and shifting expectations for interest rate cuts from the Fed have pressured equities recently, with markets now keenly awaiting the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index, the U.S. central bank's preferred inflation gauge, on Friday to ascertain the timing of the rate cut.

Money markets are pricing in just about 42 basis points (bps) of rate cuts from the Fed this year, down from about 150 bps seen at the start of the year, according to LSEG data.

For the day, markets will watch the gross domestic product (GDP) advance for the first quarter, and the weekly jobless claims numbers, both due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 5:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 137 points, or 0.35%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 27.5 points, or 0.54%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 152.25 points, or 0.86%.

Among other stocks, Ford Motor F.N gained 2.6% premarket as the automaker's first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street's expectations, bolstered by a strong performance in its commercial vehicle division and an increase in hybrid vehicle sales.

Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel


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