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Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures edge higher with inflation worries in check and bond yields slipping

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U.S. stock-index futures edged higher Wednesday, after more remarks by Federal Reserve officials calmed investor worries about building inflation pressure, allowing Treasury yields to slip further.

What are major indexes doing?
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
    YM00,
    +0.22%

    rose 95 points, or 0.3%, to 34,366.
  • S&P 500 futures
    ES00,
    +0.33%

    were up 15.75 points, or 0.4%, at 4,201.25.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures
    NQ00,
    +0.48%

    gained 64 points, or 0.5%, to trade at 13,720.25.

On Tuesday, stocks gave up early gains to end slightly lower. The Dow
DJIA,
-0.24%

fell 81.52 points, or 0.2%, to end a three-day winning streak. The S&P 500
SPX,
-0.21%

fell 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-0.03%

shaved off 4 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 13,657.17.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks remain stuck in a holding pattern, but not far off all-time highs, with building inflation pressures the main concern for investors, particularly after data earlier this month showed that the April consumer-price index rose at a much hotter-than-expected 4.2% year-over-year pace.

Read: Inflation ‘surprises’ are ‘almost off the chart’ as data runs hotter than expected

Stocks may continue to struggle for direction ahead of the release Friday of the Federal Reserve’s favorite measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditure index, analysts said.

While more Fed officials have acknowledged that a discussion about when to begin tapering may soon be in order, they have largely remained committed to extraordinary monetary policy measures, arguing that a pickup in inflation pressures is likely to prove transitory.

“With more officials maintaining a dovish stance, we stick to our guns that equities still have room to trend north for a while more, while the U.S. dollar may stay on the back foot,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note.

“That said, before getting more confident on that front, we would like to see whether committee members will keep the same stance after the release of the PCE data on Friday,” the analyst said.

Need to Know: U.S. stocks are demonstrating most of the characteristics of a bubble, but don’t sell yet, says strategist

Meanwhile, a group of Republican senators is expected to offer a roughly $1 trillion plan for infrastructure spending, up from their initial proposal of $568 billion as negotiations continue with President Joe Biden’s administration. The White House last week trimmed the size of its proposed package to $1.7 trillion from $2.3 trillion in a bid to win bipartisan support.

Also on Capitol Hill, chief executives from some of largest U.S. banks will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, and the House Financial Services Committee Thursday. They’re expected to be challenged on a drop in lending over the past year, efforts to fight systemic racism and to defend themselves against accusations of “woke capitalism,” according to statements made by top lawmakers from both parties.

Lawmakers will grill JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s
JPM,
-1.03%

Jamie Dimon, Citigroup Inc.’s
C,
-0.96%

Jane Fraser, Morgan Stanley’s
MS,
-0.93%

James Gorman, Bank of America Corp.’s
BAC,
-1.45%

Brian Moynihan, Wells Fargo & Co.’s
WFC,
-0.32%

Charles Scharf, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s
GS,
-1.03%

David Solomon.

Which companies are in focus?

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