Futures rise ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s address

Business

FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday, a day after Wall Street’s main indexes fell, as investors kept an eye out for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s address.

Powell’s remarks would be scrutinized amid rising bets that the United States might adopt negative interest rates for the first time to combat the coronavirus pandemic’s severe economic blow.

While the Fed’s benchmark interest rate is already zero, Powell said negative interest rates would be unlikely to help the economy in March. Powell’s webcast address will begin at 9 a.m. ET (1300 GMT).

Unprecedented stimulus actions from the central bank and hopes of an economic recovery have been vital in helping the main U.S. stock indexes rise about 30% from their March lows.

The S&P 500 ended 2% lower on Tuesday as leading U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned any premature moves to reopen the economy could trigger more outbreaks and set back economic recovery.

On the economic front, the Labor Department’s data is expected to show U.S. producer price index dropped 0.5% in April after slipping 0.2% a month earlier. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At 6:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 131 points, or 0.56%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 13.25 points, or 0.46% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 56.25 points, or 0.62%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were up 0.1%.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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