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Stock futures are higher ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s speech

Stock futures are higher ahead of Fed Chair Powell’s speech

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Source: NYSE

Stock futures rose on Friday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium with investors looking for more details into the central bank’s plans to taper monetary stimulus.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 86 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures ticked up 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.3%.

The Fed summit will be held virtually this year, with Chair Jerome Powell’s speech taking center stage Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET. The central bank is trying to prepare markets for when it cuts back its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases, likely this year. With the stock market near records, investors are betting the Fed can remove stimulus without causing a so-called taper tantrum that shoots rates higher rapidly and knocks equities.

“Every Fed change in monetary policy is important,” TD Securities global head of rates strategy Priya Misra said. “But I think it’s particularly more meaningful today because we know growth is slowing and the Fed is trying to exit.”

Shares of Gap gained 7% in premarket trading after the apparel retailer’s quarterly earnings report beat on top and bottom lines, while Peloton shares fell after the exercise equipment company’s fourth-quarter financial results missed Wall Street estimates. Peloton tanked 10%.

The three major U.S. indexes closed Thursday’s regular trading session lower. The Dow snapped a four-day win streak while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both broke five-day win streaks.

The Dow lost 192.38 points, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 slid 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.6%.

Market participants also monitored new developments in Afghanistan, which appeared to weigh on investor sentiment. The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that explosions near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan killed 13 U.S. service members and wounded 18.

“Markets don’t like uncertainty and the uncertainty in Afghanistan is high and feels like it’s rising,” said Bob Doll, chief investment officer of Crossmark Global Investments.

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Investors also await a consumer sentiment reading to be released Friday morning.

The three major stock averages are all set to close the week in the green. The Dow is up 0.3% week-to-date, while the S&P 500 is up 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite is 1.6% higher.

The indexes are on track to end the month higher. The Dow is up 0.8% in August. The S&P 500 is 1.7% higher and the Nasdaq Composite is up 1.9% this month.

— Jeff Cox contributed to this report

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