Economic news

Futures Flat as Investors Assess Rate Hike Prospects

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors fretted over early rate hikes by the Federal Reserve after strong retail earnings and data showed an economic recovery was on track.

Target Corp was the latest big-name retailer to report positive results, as it raised its annual forecasts and beat profit expectations, citing an early start in holiday shopping.

But shares of the retailer fell 3.1% in premarket trade as its third-quarter margins were hit by supply-chain issues.

Lowe’s Cos Inc rose 2.2% after the home improvement chain raised its full-year sales forecast on higher demand from builders and contractors, as well as a strong U.S. housing market.

Wall Street indexes had ended higher on Tuesday after data showed retail sales jumped in October, and Walmart and Home Depot both flagged strength in consumer demand going into the holiday season.

While the readings showed that a rise in inflation has not stifled economic growth so far, any further gains in prices could potentially dampen an economic recovery.

Contrasting comments from Fed Presidents James Bullard and Mary Daly on Tuesday also brewed more uncertainty in markets.

CME Group's Fedwatch tool sees a 19% probability of a rate hike by the Fed in their March 2022 meet, up from 11.8% probability last month.

Strong retail earnings this week will round off an upbeat third-quarter earnings season, which had pushed Wall Street indexes to record highs.

At 06:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 35 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.05% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 16.75 points, or 0.1%.

Nasdaq futures were boosted by gains in Tesla and other electric car-makers amid growing demand for electric vehicle makers.

Tesla rose 1.6%, while peers Rivian Automotive and Lucid Group added 0.9% and 8.8%, respectively.

Among other stocks, drug maker Pfizer Inc rose 0.8% after it said it is seeking U.S. authorization of its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill.

Visa Inc fell 2.5% after Inc said it would stop accepting credit cards issued by the world’s largest payment processor in the United Kingdom from next year due to the high fees charged for transactions.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

Source: Reuters

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