Wall Street pointed toward gains early Tuesday as markets digested more earnings from retailers while waiting for any hints about interest rates from the Federal Reserve at this week’s conference.
Futures for S&P 500 rose 0.6% before the bell Tuesday, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3%.
Traders hope officials at the Fed’s summer Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference say they are finished raising interest rates that are at a two-decade high. But forecasters warn they might say inflation isn’t under control yet.
Upward pressure on prices has eased significantly this year, even though consumer inflation accelerated in July to 3.2% from the previous month’s 3%. That’s down from last year’s peak above 9% but more than the Fed’s 2% target.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell “may even mention that further rate hikes cannot be entirely ruled out,” said Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities in a report.
Economists say squeezing out the last bit of inflation may be the Fed’s hardest challenge.
The Jackson Hole meeting is closely watched because Fed officials have used it to announce policy changes in the past.
The Fed indicated in minutes from its July meeting that it would make future decisions based on hiring, inflation and other data. The government is due to release its monthly jobs report and an inflation update next week.
In corporate news, Macy’s reported a loss of $22 million, or 8 cents per share, in its most recent quarter. Adjusted for a non-cash settlement charge related to pension obligations, earnings for the latest quarter were 26 cents per share. Like other retailers, Macy’s saw revenue decline, to $5.28 billion from $5.83 billion from a year ago. Its shares fell 3.5% in premarket.
Lowe’s gained nearly 3% after the hardware store chain beat second-quarter profit targets, even as it saw a significant decline in sales from last year.
Target and Home Depot also recently reported declining sales, particularly in big-ticket items like appliances that often require financing. That’s become a problem with interest rates rising rapidly over the past year, making credit cards a much bigger burden for consumers.
Shares in Dick’s Sporting Goods tumbled 19% after the retailer badly missed Wall Street’s earnings targets and cut its full-year profit outlook, citing worries over theft at its stores.
At midday in Europe, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6%, while the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX in Frankfurt each added 1.2%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9% to 3,120.22 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9% to 31,856.71. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.9% to 17,791.01.
The Kospi in Seoul added 0.3% to 2,515.74 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.1% higher at 7,121.60.
India’s Sensex gained less than 0.1% to 65,254.06. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets advanced.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude lost 40 cents to $80.32 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, shed 48 cents to $83.98 per barrel in London.
The dollar declined to 145.75 yen from Monday’s 146.11 yen. The euro lost ground to $1.0889 from $1.0899.
Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.7% Monday for its first gain in five days as tech stocks rallied. The Dow slipped 0.1% while the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.6%.
McDonald reported from Beijing; Ott reported from Silver Spring, Maryland.