U.S. stock index futures dipped Thursday as traders continue to process comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and await key employment data. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell by 45 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Those moves come a day after Powell reiterated his warning message to lawmakers that the central bank may raise interest rates higher than previously anticipated. However, he emphasized that no decision has been made yet regarding the March meeting. “The market is finally coming to the realization that elevated interest rates are here to stay and the idea of a Fed pivot anytime soon is wishful thinking,” Main Street Research’s chief investment officer James Demmert said Thursday.  “The global economy is more resilient than many realized, which will make inflation stickier and is extending central bankers’ terminal rate target. Inflation has come down but is nowhere near the Fed’s 2% target, so there is much work to be done given the stubborn strength of the economy and wage inflation,” he added. Investors await more news on the state of the economy, due out with Friday’s February nonfarm payrolls report. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect the U.S. economy to have added 225,000 jobs in February. Some economists, including those at Citi, expect a positive surprise to the upside come Friday on the heels of January’s blowout report. And strong jobs growth could mean bad news for the market. “Given that good news is bad news for markets, we think this would likely cause equities to sell-off further and support the case for an outsize Fed hike,” wrote strategist Alex Saunders in a Wednesday note to clients. So far this week, jobs data has suggested that the economy is standing firm despite the Fed’s hiking campaign, heightening concerns that rates could stay elevated for longer. Wednesday’s ADP report showed private payrolls increase by 242,000, more than expected. Investors on Thursday will be looking at the jobless claims report, which is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr is also scheduled to speak on cryptocurrencies. Asia-Pacific shares were mixed on Thursday as China saw softening in its inflation print in February. The economy’s consumer price index grew 1% year on year, the slowest pace since February 2022. The Shanghai Composite shed 0.22% to close at 3,276.09 and the Shenzhen Component lost 0.16% to end at 11,579.99. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.22%. Japan’s Nikkei 225′s closed 0.63% higher at 28,623.15 and the Topix climbed 0.97%, ending at 2,071.09 as Bank of Japan kicked off its two-day monetary policy meeting. In South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.53% to 2,419.09 while the Kosdaq lost 0.58% to end at 809.22. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.05% to 7,311.1. Oil were up slightly on Thursday as a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories and hopes for Chinese demand offset fears over the economic impact of rising interest rates. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments this week on the likelihood that interest rates will need to be raised more than previously expected in response to recent strong data continued to weigh on oil and other risk assets because of the potential impact on economic and demand growth. Brent crude last rose by 10 cents, or 0.12%, to $82.76 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude crude was up by 3 cents to $76.69. Both benchmarks declined between 4% and 5% over the previous two days. Gold prices edged up but traded in a relatively tight range on Thursday as traders squared positions before the U.S. jobs data that could influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path. Spot gold was last up 0.22% at $1,817.5955 per ounce, after hitting its lowest since Feb. 28 on Wednesday. Prices, however, traded in a narrow range of $8. The dollar index slipped 0.2% after hitting a three-month high in the previous session. A weaker greenback tends to make bullion a more attractive bet. U.S. gold futures firmed 0.16% at $1,821.50.