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Stock futures are slightly higher as investors look ahead to Fed meeting minutes

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, December 9, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

US stock futures were slightly higher Wednesday morning as investors looked ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting for clues about the pace of future interest rate hikes.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 36 points. S&P 500 futures were slightly higher, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.08%.

Stocks of Nordstrom fell more than 8% in extended trading after the department store chain reaffirmed its prediction. However, Nordstrom beat earnings and sales expectations in its latest results, according to Refinitiv consensus expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 400 points, or about 1.2%, during Tuesday’s regular session. The S&P 500 rose 1.36% to close above 4,000 for the first time since September. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.36%.

Investors shrugged off further lockdowns in China after the country reported its first Covid deaths since May. Instead, traders focused on some strong earnings reports and bet on the likelihood of an easing of monetary policy from the Fed going forward.

“Optimistic investor psychology is driving the rally in this market,” Eugene Profit, CEO of Profit Investments, said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.”

“As we move into the next Fed meeting, I think the Fed will probably moderate their language a bit, and I think investors want to remain optimistic and ignore a lot of headwinds in this market,” he added.

On the economic front, investors will review the final minutes of the Fed meeting on Wednesday to understand the central bank’s approach to monetary policy ahead of the December meeting.

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Earlier in November, the central bank approved a fourth consecutive increase of 0.75 percentage points that brought interest rates to their highest level since 2008. Economists predict a rise of half a percentage point in December and smaller rate hikes next year.

In addition, investors will analyze the latest data on unemployment claims. Economists polled by Dow Jones forecast claims of 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 19, up slightly from the initial 222,000 claims the week before.

They also expect the latest data on durable goods and new home sales in October. Durable goods will be up 0.5% in October from the previous month, according to Dow Jones estimates.

The markets are closed on Thursdays for Thanksgiving and close early on Fridays.

Correction: An earlier version of this story has been corrected to indicate that Nordstrom reaffirmed his prediction.

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