Wednesday November 23rd


Stock futures are slightly higher as investors look ahead to Fed meeting minutes

U.S. stock markets index futures were marginally higher on Wednesday morning, as investors looked ahead to Federal Reserve meeting minutes for clues into the pace of future interest rate hikes. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 27 points points, or 0.08%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.28%. Shares of Nordstrom fell more than 8% in the premarket after the department store chain reaffirmed its forecast. However, Nordstrom beat profit and sales expectations in its latest results, according to consensus expectations on Refinitiv. Investors are awaiting the latest Fed meeting minutes, due Wednesday afternoon, for insight into the central bank’s approach on monetary policy ahead of the December meeting. Earlier in November, the central bank approved a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point hike that brought rates to their highest level since 2008. Economists are forecasting a half percentage point increase in December, and smaller rate hikes next year. Additionally, investors will parse through the latest jobless claims data. Economists polled by Dow Jones are forecasting claims of 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 19, a slight increase from the 222,000 initial claims the prior week. They’re also expecting the latest data on durable goods and new home sales in October. Durable goods in October are expected to have risen 0.5% from the prior month, according to estimates from Dow Jones. Wall Street is coming off an upbeat session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging nearly 400 points Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.36%, closing above the 4,000 level for the first time since September. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.36%. Investors shrugged off fears of further lockdowns in China after the country reported its first Covid deaths since May. Instead, traders focused on some strong earnings reports, and bet on the likelihood for an easing in monetary policy from the Fed going forward. “Investor psychology remaining optimistic is driving the rally in this market,” Eugene Profit, CEO at Profit Investments, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “Going into the next Fed meeting, I think the Fed will probably moderate their language a little bit, and I think investors want to remain optimistic, and ignore a lot of headwinds in this market,” he added. Markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will close early on Friday. Shares in the Asia-Pacific are mixed Wednesday after U.S. stocks rose overnight and New Zealand’s central bank delivered a 75 basis point hike, the biggest rate hike ever in the central bank’s history. Singapore’s latest inflation data showed some easing in October on an annualized basis. The NZX 50 index in New Zealand closed down 0.85% at 11,323.8. The S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.7% at 7,231.8 despite the Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe on Tuesday hinting at more rate hikes ahead. South Korea’s Kospi closed up 0.53% to stand at 2,418.01, while the Kosdaq ended 1.84%. Japanese markets are closed for a public holiday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded 0.81% higher. In Mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.26% and the Shenzhen Component was down 0.44%. Oil prices fell by more than $1 a barrel on Wednesday as the Group of Seven (G7) nations looked at a price cap on Russian oil above where the crude grade is currently trading. Brent crude futures fell $2.27, or 2.6%, to $86.09 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $1.87, or 2.3%, at $79.08 a barrel. Gold edged lower on Wednesday with most investors on the sidelines ahead of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s November policy meeting that could offer hints on its tightening path. Spot gold was 0.2% lower at $1,737.54 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were dipped 0.1% at $1,738.50.