U.S. stock index futures rose Thursday as traders weigh earnings from chipmaker Nvidia and assess future potential Federal Reserve moves. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 80 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.5%, and Nasdaq-100 futures jumped 0.9%. Nasdaq futures got a boost from Nvidia, which rose more than 8% on better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and revenue. The S&P 500 is coming off its fourth straight losing session, dropping 0.2% on Wednesday. The Dow also fell, while the Nasdaq Composite posted a small gain. The moves came after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its most recent meeting, which concluded Feb. 1, showing that members of the central bank are resolved to keep fighting inflation with rate hikes. Inflation “remained well above” the Fed’s 2% target and the labor market “remained very tight, contributing to continuing upward pressures on wages and prices,” according to the minutes. “The Fed is determined to free up some slack in the labor market, to ensure that inflation doesn’t get entrenched at its current high level,” said Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank. “By mid-2023, year-over-year CPI inflation likely will have slowed to below the federal funds rate. But if inflation surprises to the upside again, or if the unemployment rate falls further, the Fed could hike more than in our forecast.” Several earnings reports on Thursday gave investors further insight on the state of the consumer, including Alibaba, Papa John’s, Wayfair and Bath & Body Works. After the bell, investors will hear from Beyond Meat, Block, Warner Bros. Discovery and Carvana, among others. In economic data, traders are looking forward to the latest GDP and weekly jobless claims data, which are both scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Additionally, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will speak at an event hosted by the Atlanta Fed Thursday morning. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will take part in a fireside chat in the afternoon. Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Thursday as investors digested minutes released by the U.S. Federal Reserve that showed members are still committed to fighting inflation with rate hikes. The Bank of Korea held its interest rates at 3.5%, a first after nearly a year of rate hikes, and in line with expectations. South Korea’s Kospi ended Thursday 0.9% higher to close at 2,439.09 alongside Samsung Electronics gaining about 1.5% after the decision. The Kosdaq also finished up 0.6% up at 783.28. Japanese markets were closed on Thursday for the Emperor’s birthday. The S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4% to close at 7,285.4 in Australia. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.3% while the Hang Seng Tech index gained 1.1%. In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component ended 0.13% lower at 11,884.3, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.11% to close at 3,287.47. Oil prices stabilised on Thursday after Brent crude posted its biggest one-day loss for seven weeks in the previous session, with gains on Russian supply curbs capped by an expected rise in U.S. inventories. Brent crude futures rose 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $80.85 a barrel by 1004 GMT, compared with about $98 a barrel on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (WTI) advanced 26 cents, or 0.4%, to $74.21 after six sessions of losses. Gold prices were flat on Thursday as the prospects of U.S. interest rates staying higher for longer kept bullion on a tight leash. Spot gold was up less than 0.1% at $1,825.30 per ounce. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.4% to $1,833.50.
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