Stock futures are slightly lower as investors look ahead to Fed meeting minutes

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, December 9, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were marginally lower on Wednesday morning, as investors looked ahead to Federal Reserve meeting minutes for clues into the pace of future interest rate hikes.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were fractionally lower and shed 4 points. S&P 500 futures was also marginally lower, while Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 0.17%.

Shares of Nordstrom fell more than 8% in extended trading after the department store chain reaffirmed its forecast. However, Nordstrom beat profit and sales expectations in its latest results, according to consensus expectations on Refinitiv.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied nearly 400 points, or about 1.2%, during the regular session Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.36%, closing above the 4,000 level for the first time since September. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.36%.

Investors shrugged off fears of further lockdowns in China after the country reported its first Covid deaths since May. Instead, traders focused on some strong earnings reports, and bet on the likelihood for an easing in monetary policy from the Fed going forward.

“Investor psychology remaining optimistic is driving the rally in this market,” Eugene Profit, CEO at Profit Investments, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.”

“Going into the next Fed meeting, I think the Fed will probably moderate their language a little bit, and I think investors want to remain optimistic, and ignore a lot of headwinds in this market,” he added.

On the economic front, investors will review the latest Fed meeting minutes on Wednesday for insight into the central bank’s approach on monetary policy ahead of the December meeting.

Earlier in November, the central bank approved a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point hike that brought rates to their highest level since 2008. Economists are forecasting a half percentage point increase in December, and smaller rate hikes next year.

Additionally, investors will parse through the latest jobless claims data. Economists polled by Dow Jones are forecasting claims of 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 19, a slight increase from the 222,000 initial claims the prior week.

They’re also expecting the latest data on durable goods and new home sales in October. Durable goods in October are expected to have risen 0.5% from the prior month, according to estimates from Dow Jones.

Markets will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and will close early on Friday.

Correction: A previous version of this story was corrected to reflect that Nordstrom reaffirmed its forecast.

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