Tuesday, February 20

Wall Street set to rebound after Jackson Hole shock, data eyed

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US stock indexes were set for a higher open on Tuesday after a two-session hammering on fears of aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, with investors looking ahead to consumer confidence and job openings data later in the day.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has slumped nearly 4% since Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole speech last week reaffirmed the central bank’s determination to raise interest rates to tame inflation despite a slowing economy.

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All eyes are on US consumer confidence data, due at 10:00 am ET, which is expected to show a rise to 97.9 points in August from 95.7 last month.

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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or the JOLTS report, is expected to show job openings likely fell to 10.475 million in July from 10.698 million in June.

The report is among several metrics being closely watched by Fed policymakers and would be a prelude to the more-important August non-farm payrolls data on Friday. Any cooling in labor demand would be a welcome sign for markets as it could ease the pressure on the Fed to stick to outsized rate hikes.

“We are probably in an environment where bad news is good news. Markets are so focused on Fed that a jobs number on Friday that’s too strong will likely spook some folks. We really need Goldilocks here,” said Jeff Buchbinder, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.

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“We still think stocks can go a little higher between now and the end of the year, but in the near-term we would expect quite a bit of choppiness as the market gathers more information on the outlook for Fed and interest rates.”

Bets on the size of upcoming rate hikes have been fairly volatile in recent weeks, with traders pricing in a 66.5% chance of a third straight 75 basis points increase in September.

Rate-sensitive banks rose in premarket trading, led by Bank of America with a 1.3% gain.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield dipped after two straight sessions of gains.

Megacap growth and technology stocks such as Nvidia Corp and Tesla Inc, which came under pressure as yields surged, added 1.4% and 1.8%, respectively.

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At 8:19 am ET, Dow e-minis were up 179 points, or 0.56%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 26.25 points, or 0.65%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 113.25 points, or 0.91%.

The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, slipped to 25.39 points after closing at an over six-week high in the previous session.

Best Buy Co rose 3.5% after it reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly comparable sales as steep discounts helped soften the blow to electronics demand from rampant inflation.

US-listed shares of Baidu Inc gained 3.5% after China’s search engine giant posted upbeat quarterly revenue, underpinned by growth in its cloud business.

Twitter Inc dipped 0.9% as Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk sent an additional notice to terminate the $44 billion deal to acquire the social media company. (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila )



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