Wednesday November 30th


Stock futures rise as Wall Street awaits Fed Chair Powell’s speech

U.S. stock index futures rose Wednesday as Wall Street awaits a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 27 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.2% and 0.4%, respectively. Powell will give a speech at the Brookings Institution that may give insight into the central bank’s thinking on future interest rate increases. The Fed is slated to meet later this month and is largely expected to deliver a smaller 0.5 percentage point rate hike after four consecutive 0.75 percentage point increases to tame high inflation. A pause or pivot on rate hikes would likely send markets higher. “This is a Fed-made recession, so eventually when he does pivot, the market should move higher pretty quickly,” said Steve Grasso, CEO of Grasso Global, on CNBC’s “Fast Money” Tuesday. Wall Street is coming off a mixed session. The Nasdaq Composite shed 0.59% and the S&P 500 lost 0.16%, marking the third straight negative day for each. The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a marginal gain, closing 3.07 points, or 0.01%, higher. Stocks have been weighed down by China’s zero-Covid policy and have failed to fully recover from losses even as the country announced steps toward reopening, such as an uptick in vaccination rates for the elderly. Investors will watch for the ADP private payrolls report and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Wednesday. Pending home sales and the Fed’s Beige Book will also be released Wednesday, giving further clues about the state of the U.S. economy. Asia-Pacific shares were mostly higher on Wednesday as the reading for China’s November factory activity fell short of expectations, dropping to the lowest reading since April 2022. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index briefly rose 2% in its final hour of trade, with the Hang Seng Tech index trading 2.66% higher. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite closed little changed at 3,151.34, while the Shenzhen Component gained 0.176% to 11,108.50. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 pared earlier losses and traded 0.43% higher after its monthly inflation indicator showed some slowing for October, and closed at 7,284.20. The Nikkei 225 shed 0.21% to 27,968.99 and the Topix slipped 0.37% to 1,985.57. South Korea’s Kospi reversed losses to rise 1.61% to 2,472.53. Oil prices rose by over 2% on Wednesday on signs of tighter supply, a weaker dollar and optimism over a Chinese demand recovery. But the likelihood that OPEC+ will leave output unchanged at its upcoming meeting limited the gains. Brent crude futures rose $2.23, or 2.7% to $85.26 per barrel. The more active February Brent crude contract rose by 2.4% to $85.29. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $2.01, or 2.5%, to $80.21. Support followed expectations of tighter crude supply. Gold rose on Wednesday as the dollar eased and was headed for its biggest monthly gain in more than two years, while investors braced for a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for hints on future interest rate rises. Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,760.31 per ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.7% to $1,759.90. Gold is set for a 7.8% monthly rise, which would be its best since July 2020, and follows a seven-month long losing streak.