U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors focused on the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s November meeting for a clearer picture of its monetary tightening policy.
Recent statements from Fed officials, including Cleveland President Loretta Mester and Kansas City President Esther George, have offered mixed clues about the future path of interest rate hikes, but have reiterated the central bank’s resolve to stamp out inflation.
Traders are now placing their bets on a 50 basis-point increase in the central bank’s next meeting in December. FEDWATCH
The benchmark S&P 500 index (.SPX) closed at its highest level in 2-1/2 months on Tuesday after a sales forecast by Best Buy eased concerns that high inflation would lead to a dismal holiday shopping season.
Wall Street’s three main indexes are on track for their second straight month of gains, riding on a better-than-feared earnings season and hopes of smaller increments in the Fed’s rate hikes.
Trading volume is likely to fall heading into the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, with the U.S. stock market open for a half-session on Friday.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shares slipped 0.3% after hundreds of workers joined protests at Foxconn’s (2317.TW) flagship iPhone plant in China, while a source told Reuters that the unrest did not affect production at the plant.
At 6:25 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.01%.
S&P 500 e-minis , which were up 1.75 points, or 0.04%, traded within a narrow 10-point range in the last two hours, ahead of the release of the minutes at 2:00 p.m. ET.
On the data front, investors will keep a close watch on durable goods and new home sales units during October, weekly jobless claims, and S&P Global PMI flash numbers for November to assess economic resiliency in the face of an impending slowdown.