Stock futures flat as Wall Street awaits Fed Chair Powell’s speech

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 29, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Stock futures were little changed on Tuesday evening as Wall Street looked ahead to a speech on Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that could provide further insight into future rate hikes.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 24 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.10% and 0.20%, respectively.

The moves come after a mixed day for stocks. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.59% and the S&P 500 lost 0.16%, its third consecutive negative day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was marginally higher, closing 3.07 points, or 0.01%, higher.

Shares have been weighed down by China’s zero-Covid policy and have failed to fully recover from losses even as the country announced steps toward reopening, such as raising vaccination rates for the elderly.

On Wednesday, Chairman Jerome Powell will deliver a speech at the Brookings Institution that could provide insight into the central bank’s thinking on future hikes.

Investors are watching the Federal Reserve closely ahead of its December meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to deliver a smaller increase of 0.5 percentage point after four consecutive increases of 0.75 percentage point to tame high inflation. A pause in rate hikes or a pivot is likely to send markets higher.

“This is a Fed-induced recession, so ultimately when it turns around, the market should go up pretty quickly,” Steve Grasso, CEO of Grasso Global, said on CNBC’s “Fast Money.”

Wall Street will also be watching economic data which will give more information about the state of the US labor market and the consumer.

The ADP personal wages report is due out on Wednesday, as is the latest job vacancies and labor turnover survey for October. Upcoming home sales and the Fed’s Beige Book will also be released on Wednesday, giving further clues about the state of the US economy.

Earnings season also continues with Salesforce, Petco and Five Below on deck.

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