Markets

U.S. stock futures on pause ahead of Yellen

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Wall Street futures pointed to a flat open on Tuesday as investors took a pause after yet another record close ahead of Federal Reserve (Fed) chair Janet Yellen's appearance before Congress.

The blue-chip Dow futures inched up 1 point, or 0.00%, by 6:58AM ET (11:58GMT), the S&P 500 futures slipped less than a point, or 0.02%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures edged forward 1 point, or 0.01%.

The caution in equities on Tuesday arrived after major indices hit new record highs a day earlier. In fact, the Dow and S&P posted their 22nd and 14th record close since the November 8 presidential election.

The rally which pushed the blue-chip index past 20,000 points and the global stock benchmark past $20 trillion in value has largely been attributed to speculation that President Donald Trump will usher in an era of infrastructure spending and tax cuts that will spur economic growth with the recent leg up coming amid promises for a "phenomenal" tax plan in the coming weeks.

In that light, some observers attributed Tuesday's caution to the fact that Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned unexpectedly amid a flow of intelligence leaks that suggested he had secretly discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to Washington and then tried to cover up the conversations.

The dollar deepened losses against a basket of major currencies after the news broke and continued under pressure on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.22% at 100.78 by 6:59AM ET (11:59GMT), edging away from Monday's high of 101.11, its highest level since January 20.

Regardless, the session's main event will come when Yellen testifies on the economy before the Senate Banking Committee at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT) Tuesday. Her comments will be monitored closely for any new insight on policy and the timing of when it might raise interest rates.

Though several Fed officials had recently insisted that March could be a live meeting, markets remained skeptical, pricing in only about a 13% of a hike next month, according to Investing.com's Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

Fed fund futures continued to bet for the first policy tightening to come in June while, unlike the central bank's projection for three rate hikes in 2017, markets put the odds for a second and final hike in December at around 70%.

Besides Yellen, Fed president Jeffrey Lacker, Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart and Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan will also make appearances throughout the day.

Investors will also digest data on producer price inflation out at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT).

On the earnings front, Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS) and T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) were among firms set to report before the open, while Agilent Technologies (NYSE:A), AIG (NYSE:AIG) and Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) were scheduled to release their numbers after the close.

Meanwhile, oil prices bounced back from the prior session's losses on Tuesday, but remained trapped in a familiar trading range as market players continued to weigh the prospect of production cuts by major crude-producing nations against a rise in U.S. drilling.

U.S. crude futures gained 0.81% to $53.36 by 7:00AM ET (12:00GMT), while Brent oil traded up 1.03% to $56.16.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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