Dow futures slip 30 pts; seeking direction ahead of Powell speech

  • Stock Market News
Dow futures slip 30 pts; seeking direction ahead of Powell speech

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Tuesday, lacking direction ahead of a keenly awaited speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and more corporate earnings.

At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow futures contract was down 30 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures traded 4 points, or 0.1% higher, and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 40 points, or 0.3%.

The main U.S. averages closed lower Monday, continuing to struggle after Friday’s exceptionally strong jobs report raised fears that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high for longer than previously thought in order to tame inflation.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 35 points, or 0.1% lower, while the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended 1% lower.

This brings a speech by Fed head Powell to the Economic Club of Washington later in the session firmly into focus as investors look for further clues on how long the central bank will keep interest rates higher, amid fears of an economic slowdown in the next few quarters.

That said, Goldman Sachs said on Monday it now sees a 25% probability of the United States entering a recession in the next 12 months, down from a previous 35% forecast.

"Continued strength in the labor market and early signs of improvement in the business surveys suggest that the risk of a near-term slump has diminished notably," the bank said in a research note.

Tuesday also sees the annual State of the Union address speech, with President Joe Biden expected to emphasize his policy and legislative victories, unemployment at 53-year lows, and progress on bringing inflation down.

The quarterly earnings season continues Tuesday, with the likes of Chipotle (NYSE: CMG ), DuPont (NYSE: DD ), and Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL ) scheduled to report. So far, 254 companies on the S&P 500 have reported quarterly earnings, with 69.3% of them beating expectations, according to Refinitiv.

Boeing (NYSE: BA ) will also be in focus Tuesday after the planemaker confirmed on Monday that it expects to cut about 2,000 jobs through attrition and layoffs.

Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ) stock traded sharply lower premarket after the troubled home goods retailer said on Monday it was planning to raise some $1 billion in a last-ditch effort to stave off bankruptcy.

Chegg (NYSE: CHGG ) stock also slumped premarket after the education tech firm issued disappointing guidance overnight.

Oil prices rose Tuesday, helped by continued optimism over the recovery in demand from China, the largest crude importer in the world, this year.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised prices for its flagship crude for Asian buyers late Monday for the first time in six months, expecting increased demand from the region, especially from China.

Supply outages also helped the tone, with Turkey halting flows to its Ceyhan export terminal after a major earthquake, while a power outage hit Norway’s Johan Sverdrup field.

The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to issue its short-term energy outlook later in the session, while the American Petroleum Institute is set to reveal its weekly estimate of U.S. crude inventories.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.6% higher at $75.31 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.4% to $82.12.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,880.45/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.0708.

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