US pre-open: Futures slightly higher ahead of Powell speech
Wall Street futures were pointing to a positive open ahead of the bell on Wednesday as market participants hold their collective breath for comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the Brookings Institution.
As of 1215 GMT, Dow Jones futures were up 0.08%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.22% and 0.42% higher, respectively.
The Dow closed just 3.07 points higher on Tuesday after the Conference Board's consumer confidence index slipped to a four-month lower
Wednesday's primary focus will be on Powell's comments, with traders hoping they can gain some insight into the Fed's thought process regarding future interest rate hikes ahead of the central bank's meeting next week. The Fed is largely expected to deliver a smaller 0.5 percentage point rate increase, with a pause in hikes or a pivot likely to send markets higher.
China's zero-Covid policy also continued to weigh on sentiment, even as the Asian nation detailed steps toward reopening - including an uptick in vaccination rates for the elderly.
On the macro front, US mortgage applications fell 0.8% in the week ended 25 November, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, following a 2.2% advance in the previous week. Applications to refinance a home loan dropped 12.9%, while the purchase index rose 3.8%.
Still to come, ADP employment change figures will be published at 1315 GMT, while Q3 GDP growth rate estimates and an advance reading of October's goods trade balance will follow at 1330 GMT, while November's Chicago PMI was slated for release at 1445 GMT and October pending home sales and JOLTs jobs data will be on deck at 1500 GMT.
In the corporate space, La-Z-Boy, Box, Victoria's Secret, and Salesforce will report earnings after the close
Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com