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03/04/24 Briefing

Stock market today: US futures slip again as traders await a speech from Jerome Powell

George Glover

Wed 3 April 2024 at 10:16 PM CEST·2-min read

US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

  • US stock futures slid again in Wednesday's premarket trading ahead of a speech by Jerome Powell.

  • Traders have started to bet that the Federal Reserve will delay rate cuts until later this year.

  • US Treasury yields held steady after hitting their highest level this year on Tuesday.

US stocks looked poised to slip again on Wednesday as traders waited for a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that could put a dampener on their hopes for June interest-rate cuts.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100were down 0.1% shortly after 8 a.m. ET, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was on course to open trading flat.

Yields on 10-year US Treasury notes held steady, having ticked up 20 basis points to set a fresh 2024 high over the first two days of the week. 2- and 30-year yields were also flat.

Stocks are coming off their worst day in nearly a month after hotter-than-anticipated job openings and factory data led to the market trimming back its rate cut expectations.

About 40% of traders now think the Fed will hold borrowing costs at their current level through June, according to the CME Fedwatch tool. Investors will be eyeing a speech by Powell at noon, where the central bank chief could offer up hints about policymakers' current stance.

The economy's resilience has "led to fresh risk-off sentiment spreading, as worries brew about inflation staying doggedly above target and the Fed being potentially forced to hold off from cutting rates by as much as previously forecast this year," Hargreaves Lansdown's head of money and markets Susannah Streeter said.

"As concerns about higher interest rates lingering for longer percolate, Wall Street is set for a lackluster session," she added.

Other blue-chip indexes around the world also struggled on Wednesday, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closing 1% lower and Europe's Stoxx 600down 0.1% at last check. In London the FTSE 100 was down 0.45% in morning trading.

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