Wall St set for weak open as traders await policy cues from Fed speakers

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Wall St set for weak open as traders await policy cues from Fed speakers
Credit: © Reuters.

By Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) -U.S. stocks were poised to open lower on Tuesday after a strong run of gains in November as investors remained cautious ahead of Federal Reserve officials' comments that could offer some clues on the interest rate path.

A rally on Wall Street in November came to a halt on Monday, with the markets taking a post-Thanksgiving pause and watching out for fresh policy cues after data signaling easing inflation bolstered hopes the Fed was likely done raising interest rates.

Still, all three major indexes were on course for monthly gains after three straight months of losses. The rebound has also brought the S&P 500 within a very close range of its 2023 intra-day high.

"The market is expecting the Fed to cut rates. The Fed has not said anything about cutting rates and I think they will reiterate that stance throughout their discussions the rest of the week," said Paul Nolte, senior wealth adviser and market strategist at Murphy & Sylvest.

At 8:29 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.05%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 7.75 points, or 0.17%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 34.25 points, or 0.21%.

Nolte said investors were "digesting very, very strong gains for the month of November," referring to the halt in the rally.

Multiple Fed policy voting members are scheduled to speak during the day, including Board Governors Christopher Waller and Michelle Bowman. Market participants will closely monitor their views as the focus shifts to the timing of a potential rate cut.

Money markets have almost fully priced in a pause in rate hikes at the December meeting, with expectations of at least a 25-basis point rate cut in May 2024 standing at nearly 50%, according to the CME Group's (NASDAQ: CME ) FedWatch Tool.

Personal consumption expenditure data - the Fed's preferred inflation gauge - and the "Beige Book", a snapshot of the U.S. economy, are due later this week, which will likely show how the economy is faring under tighter monetary conditions.

On the economic data front, the Conference Board's consumer confidence survey is due for release at 10:00 a.m ET, which is expected to show consumer confidence eased in November.

Among single stocks, Zscaler fell 4.8% before the bell as the cloud security firm's quarterly billings fell short of some analysts' estimates, overshadowing its strong forecast and profit beat.

Boeing (NYSE: BA ) added 1.7% after RBC Capital Markets upgraded the aerospace company to "outperform" from "sector perform" and set a Street-high price target.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 20, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File photo

Affirm Holdings (NASDAQ: AFRM ) gained 1.9%, following its 12% jump in the previous session on Cyber Monday spending boost, and as Jefferies upgraded the payments platform to "hold."

U.S.-listed shares of PDD Holdings jumped 14.2% after the Chinese e-commerce firm beat third-quarter revenue estimates on a boost from heavy discounting.

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