(Reuters) — U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Monday after a rally in the previous week driven by bets U.S. interest rates had peaked, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) outpaced megacap peers on news that former OpenAI head Sam Altman will join the software giant.
Microsoft's shares advanced 2.4% before the bell after CEO Satya Nadella said Altman is set to join the tech giant to lead a new advanced AI research team.
Other megacap stocks were mixed, with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) edging 0.6% higher, while Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) slipped 1.1%.
The three main U.S. stock indexes have staged a stellar rebound in November, posting gains for the third week in a row on Friday as evidence of easing U.S. inflation supported bets that the Federal Reserve was done raising interest rates.
The benchmark S&P 500 is now only 2% away from its highest level this year reached in July.
Traders have nearly fully priced in the likelihood that the Fed will keep interest rates unchanged in December, with odds of an at least 25 basis point rate cut in May standing at about 60%, according to the CME Group's (NASDAQ:CME) FedWatch tool.
«While a ‘wait and see mood’ has descended, confidence is still quietly bubbling that interest rate cuts could be on the horizon,» Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown wrote in a note.
«Concerns that there could be another grinch-like hike from the Fed in December have retreated and more bets are being placed that a reduction could come in the Spring.»
A number of catalysts will set the tone for markets this week.
Chip designer Nvidia is due to report quarterly results on Tuesday, wrapping up the third-quarter earnings season for the «Magnificent Seven» group of megacap companies.
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