Stock futures traded sideways on Wednesday evening to remain near record levels as traders anxiously awaited the start of a major Federal Reserve event on Thursday.
Contracts on the S&P 500 opened little changed after the index hit a new all-time high during the regular trading day and registered a fifth consecutive session of gains. The Nasdaq had also reached a new record.
Shares of Dow component Salesforce.com (CRM) rose higher in late trading after the software company raised its full-year revenue forecast and beat second-quarter earnings forecasts, with the company receiving a boost from remote workers who are still massively switched to Salesforce products . Shares of beauty retailer Ulta (UTLA) also gained after the company posted 60% quarterly sales growth, pushing sales above pre-pandemic levels.
Shares across the board have risen over the past several sessions as traders continued to process the latest wave of positive corporate earnings and looked past lingering concerns about the Delta variant.
Investors have also been waiting for the start of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium on Thursday, which will be held as a virtual event due to the virus. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell will give a close-up speech on the economic outlook Friday, which will reveal more of his and the central bank’s thoughts on the timing and scope of the Fed’s phasing out of its asset-buying program. the pandemic era.
According to a number of experts, Powell is likely to keep his reporting in line with other recent public comments, indicating that the economy has progressed towards the central bank’s targets, although he is still a long way from reaching the thresholds fully. needed to start tapering.
“We don’t think the Fed is going to do anything suddenly, and we really don’t think Chairman Powell will indicate that they are ready to change policy quickly,” Wells Fargo Senior Macro Strategist Zach Griffiths told Yahoo Finance. “If you look at the July FOMC statement, they indicated that they have seen progress towards their goals, but if you listen to [Powell’s] press conference, he really backtracked on that, saying they are still a long way from the threshold of “substantial further progress.” So we expect Chairman Powell to remain resolutely dovish.”
“Looking forward to 2022, we think the phasing out is in full effect and will likely be completed by the end of that year,” Griffiths added. “That could put some pressure on stocks in 2022.”
Others noted that the Fed’s months-long hints of winding down helped primary markets kick-start this process and shift towards less accommodative policies, removing the element of surprise that would otherwise have sparked a rush of volatility in risky assets. .
“Powell has really gone out of his way to communicate too much about the outfitting plans. He’s been talking about it for a year. They’ve shown the way,” Western Asset portfolio manager John Bellows told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.[Former Fed Chair Ben] Bernanke in May 2013, I think, surprised a lot of people. They weren’t looking for a taper signal, and then Bernanke is suddenly talking about taper. And I think it was that surprise that caused the volatility in 2013. And Powell’s desire to avoid that is why he’s been so deliberate in communicating their plans.
6:07 p.m. ET Wednesday Stock futures approach records
Here’s where the markets traded on Wednesday night:
S&P 500 futures (ES = F): -0.5 points (-0.01%) at 4,492.50
Dow futures (YM=F): +22.00 points (+0.06%) to 35,382.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ = F): -2.25 points (-0.01%) to 15,362.00
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
Read more from Emil:
Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance