© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were largely subdued on Wednesday ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s May meeting, which will likely offer clues on the path of future rate hikes.
The minutes are due at 1400 ET (1800 GMT). U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has promised to keep pushing on rate hikes until there is clear and convincing evidence that inflation is dropping.
Money markets are pricing in 50 basis point hikes in June and July at a time when there have been fears about waning U.S. economic momentum, with data released on Tuesday showing new home sales plunging and business activity decelerating.
“Today, FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) members’ views on how quickly they anticipate inflation to come down, as well as any potential revelations on balance sheet reduction will be scrutinized by investors,” Raffi Boyadjian, lead investment analyst at brokerage XM, said.
“(Tuesday’s) less-than-robust figures raised speculation that the Fed may not have to hike rates as aggressively as previously thought.”
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq ended lower in the previous session on worries that aggressive moves to curb decades-high inflation might tip the U.S. economy into recession, while a profit warning from Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) also roiled markets.
Durable goods data for April is due at 08:30 a.m. ET.
At 6:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 31 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.5 point, or 0.01%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 16.5 points, or 0.14%.
Nordstrom Inc (NYSE:JWN) jumped 9.1% in premarket trading after the upscale retailer raised its annual profit and revenue forecasts, counting on demand from affluent consumers to help it overcome price pressures.
Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) Co gained 11.8% after a regulatory filing showed the burger chain’s largest shareholder Nelson Peltz was considering a potential takeover bid for the company.
The CBOE volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose for the second straight day and was last up at 29.71 points.