Investing.com — U.S. stock futures are trading largely unchanged Wednesday ahead of the start of Fed chief Jerome Powell’s latest congressional testimony, with investors looking for clues towards likely future monetary action.
By 06:45 ET (10:45 GMT), the Dow futures contract was up 15 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 futures traded 2 points, or 0.1% higher, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 10 points, or 0.1%.
The main Wall Street indices closed lower Tuesday, handing back some of the previous week’s strong gains after the Fed paused its year-long rate-hiking cycle.
The broad-based S&P 500 hit its highest level since April 2022 last week, while posting its fifth consecutive positive week.
Powell heads to Capitol Hill
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell starts his two-day congressional testimony later Wednesday, addressing the House Financial Services Committee, just a week after the U.S. central bank paused its year-long rate hiking cycle after 10 consecutive interest rate increases.
He is likely to be quizzed about the policymakers’ projections for two more interest rate hikes this year, and whether the first will arrive as soon as next month.
The economic data slate is largely empty Wednesday, but U.S. housing starts unexpectedly surged by 21.7% in May, data showed Tuesday, the most since 2016, suggesting the housing sector is on track to help fuel economic growth.
U.K. inflation remains highly elevated
On a wider note, even though headline U.S. inflation fell to 4% in May for the first time in more than two years, it remains an issue abroad, particularly in the U.K.
British inflation held at 8.7% in May, defying expectations of a drop, while core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, jumped above 7% for the first time since 1992.
The Bank of England meets on Thursday, and these numbers have largely cemented another interest rate increase, for the 13th time in a row.
FedEx points to challenges ahead
In corporate news, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) stock retreated premarket after the delivery giant stated that ongoing “demand challenges” prompted its plans to ground 29 more aircraft in the fiscal year that started on June 1.
Quarterly earnings are due from recreational vehicle maker Winnebago Industries (NYSE:WGO) before the bell and home builder KB Home (NYSE:KBH) after the close.
Oil market up ahead of U.S. crude stockpiles
Crude prices edged higher Wednesday, rebounding after the previous session’s losses ahead of the latest estimates of U.S. inventories, as an indication of demand in the world’s largest consumer.
By 06:45 ET, Crude Oil WTI futures were 0.2% higher at $71.33 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.2% to $76.03 per barrel.
U.S. oil inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group will be released later in the session, delayed by a day following Monday’s public holiday, as a precursor to the official numbers the following day.
Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,945.65/oz, while EUR/USD edged higher at 1.0920.
(Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)