Stock futures rose as investors awaited comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the world economy and earnings from major American companies.
Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index added 1.2%, pointing to gains for technology stocks after a plunge in Netflix shares weighed on the sector Wednesday. S&P 500 futures rose 0.8% and contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.6%.
Investors said broader markets were in a holding pattern before Mr. Powell’s appearance at a debate on the global economy, hosted by the International Monetary Fund and scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will also participate alongside Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director.
Money managers are bracing for the Fed to push rates up at a rapid clip this year to quell inflation running at its highest pace in decades. The shift is hurting government bonds and more speculative corners of markets that benefited from years of easy monetary policy.
Edward Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald, said investors are all the more anxious to hear from Mr. Powell because of nascent signs that inflation might be peaking. “That’s why we’re seeing a slight turnover in the 10-year U.S. yield,” Mr. Park said. However, he said he doesn’t expect a big shift in tone from Mr. Powell, following a series of Fed officials who have made the case for aggressive rate increases.
Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes ticked up to 2.857%, from 2.836% Wednesday, when they approached 3% before pulling back. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions. The yield on two-year notes, which are particularly sensitive to expectations of where the Fed will set rates, ticked up to 2.624% from 2.577%.
Oil prices rose on signs that Russian oil production is falling and Europe is moving toward putting an end to imports of Russian crude. Brent-crude futures, the international energy benchmark, gained 1.2% to $108.12 a barrel. Germany said Wednesday it would stop buying Russian oil by the end of the year.
Overseas stock markets were mixed. The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.4%, led by shares of travel, leisure and construction companies. France’s CAC 40 gained 1.6% after a pre-election debate in which incumbent, pro-business President Emmanuel Macron was judged by polls to have beaten far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.
In China, shares came under pressure on concerns that Covid-19 shutdowns were slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.3% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.2%.
At 8:30 a.m., weekly data on filings for unemployment insurance are expected to show new requests dropped to 180,000 in the week ended April 16.
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