U.S. stock futures edge higher ahead of Powell speech

Jerome Powell

Eric Baradat/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

U.S. stock-index futures drifted mostly higher Tuesday as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the economic outlook.

What are major benchmarks doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average

were up 133 points, or 0.5%, at 28,128, while S&P 500 futures

rose 4.60 points, or 0.1%, to 3,397.50. Nasdaq-100 futures

were down 22 points, or 0.2%, at 11,447.25.

The Dow

on Monday rose 465.83 points or 1.7% to finish at 28,148.64, while the S&P 500

rose 60.19 points, or 1.8%, to close at 3,408.63. The Nasdaq Composite

finished at 11,332.49, up 257.47 points, or 2.3%.

What’s driving the market?

Powell is scheduled to deliver a speech on the economic outlook to the National Association of Business Economics at 10:40 a.m. Eastern in Washington D.C.

“The main point of interest will be what he has to say about Congress’ failure to come up with another stimulus package”,  said Marshall Gittler, head of research investment at BDSwiss Group, in a note. “He and his colleagues have been quite vocal about the limits of monetary policy and the need for further fiscal support.”

Stocks logged strong gains on Monday, tied in part to rising optimism over another round of coronavirus aid spending, bouncing back after stocks fell Friday following President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization. Trump late Monday left Walter Reed Medical Center after a three-night stay. Trump’s doctors said the president wasn’t “out of the woods” but that his condition had improved.

Read: Trump tweets ‘don’t be afraid of COVID,’ sparking heated Twitter exchanges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told Democratic congressional leaders late Monday that stimulus talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were going “very slowly,” Politico reported. Pelosi and Mnuchin are scheduled to speak again Tuesday, the report said.

The U.S. economic calendar features August trade data at 8:30 a.m. It’s expected to show the U.S. trade deficit widened to $66.7 billion from $63.6 billion in July. Data on August job openings is due at 10 a.m.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is slated to deliver a speech on machine learning to the Global Interdependence Center at noon, while Atlanta Fed Raphael Bostic will deliver remarks at Broward College at 2 p.m. and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan will speak to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce at 6 p.m.

Which companies are in focus?

  • Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

    rose 1.8% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the biopharmaceutical company said it expected to raise its 2020 revenue guidance by more than $200 million, when it reports third-quarter results.

What are other markets doing?

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note

rose 1 basis point to 0.766%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.

In global equities, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index

rose 0.9%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225

gained 0.5%. The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europe

was down 0.1%, while London’s FTSE 100

was up 0.1%.

Gold edged lower, with the December contract

down 0.1% on Comex. Oil futures added to big gains scored on Monday, with the U.S. benchmark

up 1.2% at $39.70 a barrel.

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