Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
U.S. stock futures were steady in overnight trading on Wednesday as investors readied for more corporate earnings and labor market data.
Dow futures fell just 10 points. S&P 500 futures were flat and Nasdaq 100 futures gained only 0.04%.
On Wednesday, the Dow rose 44 points, helped by a 2.4% gain in Apple’s stock. The S&P 500 climbed 0.12% after hitting an intraday record earlier in the session. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, dipping 0.2%. However, the Nasdaq 100 closed at an all-time high.
The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 lost 1.7% on Thursday, bringing its week-to-date losses to more than 3.4%.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell — in testimony to the House Committee on Financial Services — quelled investors fears about a rollback of the central bank’s easy policies anytime soon, even in the face of inflation. The producer prices from June showed higher than expected inflation on Thursday.
“At our June meeting, the Committee discussed the economy’s progress toward our goals since we adopted our asset purchase guidance last December. While reaching the standard of ‘substantial further progress’ is still a ways off, participants expect that progress will continue,” Powell said.
Powell is scheduled to testify before the Senate on Thursday.
“Fed chair Powell helped calm fears by again suggesting these bad inflation reports were merely transitory,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, noting the drop in bond yields following the hot inflation report. “Evidently, Bond investors are buying the Fed’s inflation narrative.”
Earnings season continued on Wednesday with strong results of banks like Bank of America and other corporations; however, stock reactions remained tempered. All 12 of the S&P 500 companies that have posted quarterly fiscal results this week up to Wednesday morning have beaten earnings-per-share estimates, but the group is averaging a 0.56% decline following the results.
Reports will continue to roll in on Thursday with Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bancorp., UnitedHealth, Cintas and Progressive all releasing results.
Investors will also get a glimpse at the recovery in the labor picture in the U.S. on Thursday.
Last week’s initial filings for unemployment insurance are due to be released at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting first-time jobless claims of 360,000, compared to 373,000 for the week ended July 3.
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