Stock futures rose in morning trading Thursday as investors digested more quarterly reports from the likes of Tesla and United Airlines and awaited a policy speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 236 points, or 0.7%. S&P 500 futures ticked up 0.9% and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1.2%.
Investors were looking to a speech from Powell, who will talk at 1 p.m. ET during the International Monetary Fund Debate on the Global Economy. The discussion will be moderated by CNBC’s Sara Eisen.
Despite market expectations for a series of aggressive interest rate increases, Fed officials in recent days have talked down making any dramatic moves.
Regional presidents Mary Daly of San Francisco, Charles Evans of Chicago and Raphael Bostic of Atlanta all have said that while they see the need to hike rates to tame inflation, they don’t want to do anything that would halt the expansion. Daly did concede that tighter policy could trigger a mild recession but she said that’s not her most likely case.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard has been the outlier, saying earlier in the week that he’s open to a 0.75 percentage point increase at the May meeting to help temper inflation running at a more than 40-year high.
Stocks are coming off a mixed session Wednesday. The Dow rose 280 points, or 0.8%, boosted by strong earnings from Procter & Gamble, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite was dragged down 1% by Netflix’s post-report plunge. The S&P 500 finished flat.
Netflix shares on Wednesday posted the biggest one-day decline since 2004 after the streamer reported its first subscriber loss in more than a decade. Other streaming companies like Disney and Roku also fell, and other tech stocks were lower.
“It continues to be a pretty bifurcated market,” said Dave Grecsek, managing director in investment strategy and research at wealth management firm Aspiriant. “Some of the more defensive, value-style companies are enjoying good returns. The flipside is some of those more growth-style tech names are going to be struggling.”
Investors are awaiting quarterly reports from companies like AT&T, American Airlines and Snap on Thursday.
In economic data, initial jobless claims came in slightly higher than expected at 184,000 for the week ending April 16, showing a decline of 2,000. Dow Jones analysts estimated 182,000 first-time claims.