Dow Futures Rise 240 Pts; Powell Testimony, ADP Payrolls Due

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Dow Futures Rise 240 Pts; Powell Testimony, ADP Payrolls Due

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Wednesday, rebounding after the previous session’s sharp losses, ahead of the keenly-awaited testimony of Fed chief Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill.

At 7 AM ET (1200 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 240 points, or 0.7%, S&P 500 Futures traded 30 points, or 0.7%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 100 points, or 0.7%.

The main Wall Street indices have seen volatile trading since the end of last week when Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the invasion of Ukraine. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down almost 600 points, or 1.8%, on Tuesday, after ceasefire talks failed and Russia pressed forward with its invasion into Ukraine.

Investors could take advantage of the recent slump in the main averages by snapping up some bargains at the open on Wednesday, but attention is likely to be on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as he starts his two-day testimony before Congress later Wednesday.

The U.S. central bank is widely expected to start raising interest rates at its next policy-setting meeting later this month to combat soaring inflation. Investors will be listening closely to what Powell says given the new economic and financial tests the Russian invasion of Ukraine poses.

U.S. President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address late Tuesday to put forward several proposals to help keep prices in check. He also addressed the conflict in Ukraine, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin would pay a high price for his move.

The monthly private payrolls data release from ADP is due at 8:15 AM ET (1315 GMT), and will be useful guide to Friday’s widely-watched nonfarm payrolls report for February. Private jobs are expected to have risen by 350,000 jobs in February, compared to January when private payrolls fell by 301,000, the first time in more than a year.

In corporate news, Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN ) will be in the spotlight after the chain of department stores forecast full-year revenue and profit above estimates after the close Tuesday, as will SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ: SOFI ). The online personal finance company impressing with its fourth quarter earnings.

More earnings are expected from the likes of discount store Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR ) and software maker Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK ). 

Oil prices soared to seven-year highs, climbing above $110 a barrel, as traders sought out alternate sources of crude in an already tight market, avoiding Russian supply following the sanctions on Russian banks.

These gains come despite Tuesday’s announcement of a coordinated release of 60 million barrels of oil by International Energy Agency member countries.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, together known as OPEC+, meets later Wednesday and is widely expected to stick to its previously announced plans to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply each month despite the elevated prices. 

Also due later in the session is the weekly U.S. crude inventory from the Energy Information Administration , following on from the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reporting late Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories fell by 6.1 million barrels last week.

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 5.7% higher at $109.33 a barrel, after earlier hitting the highest since August 2013, while the Brent contract rose 5.9% to $111.14, earlier topping $112 for the first time since 2014.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,931.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% lower at 1.1096.

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