Futures inch up in anticipation of economic data, Fed meeting minutes

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher in pre-holiday trading on Wednesday, as investors geared up for an employment report among a slew of economic data, along with minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting.

The equity market will close early on Wednesday and stay shut on Thursday on account of U.S. Independence Day, keeping trading volumes thin throughout the week.

Reports on ADP National Employment and weekly jobless claims are due before the opening bell, a day after data showed higher U.S. job openings as well as layoffs in May. This also comes ahead of Friday’s closely watched non-farm payrolls data.

“Our view remains that we should see a slowing down of the employment data over the coming months. If employment slows and the disinflation trend is intact, Fed will deliver a September rate cut,” Jefferies chief Europe economist Mohit Kumar wrote.

Market participants see a 65% chance of the first rate cut in September, and around two cuts by year end, as per LSEG’s FedWatch data.

The other data points on the watch list include factory orders and services PMIs after markets open, along with the Fed’s June meeting minutes at 2 p.m. ET. New York Fed President John Williams is also set to take the stage during the day.

Gains in Tesla and megacap stocks helped the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to close at record highs on Tuesday, a day that also saw Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledge the “disinflationary path,” while also flagging the need for more data before cutting interest rates.

“A 25-bps cut may not make much difference to the economy, but if the Fed is proactive, then no one can blame Powell for not doing his job by keeping rates higher for longer and engineering a slowdown,” Jefferies’ Kumar added.

Tesla rose 2.7% premarket after hitting its highest level since January on Tuesday following a smaller-than-expected drop in second-quarter vehicle deliveries.

Nvidia slipped 1.4%, in a recent choppy run for the AI chip leader after its staggering gains since 2023, even when other semiconductor stocks held their ground on the day.

As the S&P 500 has jumped over 15% in the first half of 2024, largely supported by top-tier high momentum technology-related stocks, the benchmark index’s equal-weighted counterpart only rose 5%, signaling the lack of a broad-based market strength.

At 4:59 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 40 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.75 points, or 0.01%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 11.5 points, or 0.06%.

Among other premarket movers, Paramount Global jumped 6.5% after Shari Redstone’s National Amusements reached a preliminary deal to sell its controlling interest in the media giant to David Ellison’s Skydance Media.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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