Wednesday August 3rd


Stock futures rise as Wall Street tries to rebound from back-to-back losing sessions

U.S. stock index futures traded higher Wednesday, as traders tried to regain their footing following back-to-back losing sessions. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 176 points, or 0.54%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures each gained 0.6%. Those moves came as Wall Street worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could further strain already tense U.S.-China relations. China had spent weeks warning her not to make the trip. Markets fell further after three Federal Reserve presidents hinted that further rate hikes would be necessary to combat high inflation. Traders also digested mixed remarks from Federal Reserve officials. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Tuesday he was confident that the U.S. economy could achieve a “soft landing.” Meanwhile, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said the central bank’s work to tame inflation is “far from done,” while Chicago Fed’s Charles Evans said there’s a chance for a smaller rate hike at the next monetary policy meeting. “Despite the fact most of today’s attention is still riveted on the Federal Reserve and its ongoing fight to bring inflation under control, many economic policies have already embarked on a new easing cycle,” said The Leuthold Group’s Jim Paulsen. “The prospect of lower inflation is not only helping to usher in a new easing cycle but is apt to stoke a private-sector confidence revival that has untapped potential.” Traders are also anticipating another batch of second-quarter earnings. CVS, Regeneron, Under Armour and Moderna will report before the bell Wednesday. In economic data, investors this week are awaiting mortgage demand numbers and PMI data out Wednesday. They will also be watching the July nonfarm payrolls report, due Friday. Asia markets mostly rose, but mainland China indexes gave up early gains and turned negative Wednesday as geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China intensified over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The Shanghai Composite was 0.71% lower at 3,163.67, and the Shenzhen Component lost 1.14% to 11,982.26, dragged down in part by Chinese battery maker and Tesla supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology. CATL shares dropped nearly 4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.33% in the final hour of trade. Taiwan’s Taiex recovered from slight losses to close 0.2% higher at 14,777.02. Elsewhere in Asia, the Kospi in South Korea gained 0.89% to 2,461.45 and the Kosdaq was 1.37% higher at 815.36. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.53% to 27,741.9 and the Topix index was up 0.27% at 1,930.77. Oil prices dipped on Wednesday ahead of a meeting of OPEC+ producers at which producers are expected to keep output steady with spare capacity limited and against the backdrop of fears that a slowdown in global growth will hit fuel demand. Brent crude futures were down 81 cents, or 0.8%, at $99.73 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 68 cents, or 0.8%, to $93.69 a barrel. Gold slipped on Wednesday as the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields advanced after hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials hinted at continuing aggressive interest rate hikes in the near term. Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,757.08 per ounce, as of 0105 GMT, after hitting a near one-month high of $1,787.79 on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures dropped 0.9% to $1,772.80 per ounce. The dollar was up 0.1% against its rivals after rising 0.8% overnight, making greenback-denominated gold more expensive for other currency holders.