S&P 500, Nasdaq eye higher open with Fed policy outlook in focus

THE S&P 500 and Nasdaq were set to open marginally higher on Wednesday as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of inflation data and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

Inflation data in the U.S. is expected to show consumer prices cooled slightly on a month-over-month basis in May but core prices are likely to have remained elevated, and the Fed is widely expected to hold interest rates.

Wall Street’s main indexes ended higher on Tuesday, with S&P 500 up almost 20% from its October 2022 lows, underpinned by rising expectations that the Fed will hold interest rates steady at its policy meeting on June 13-14.

“Sentiment remains positive but this is a period of a positive cautious attitude. Everyone is just waiting for the two events next week,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

Money market participants see a 77% chance that the U.S. central bank will skip raising interest rate in its June meeting but will hike in July, according to the CME’s Fedwatch tool.

Lifting sentiment, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an interview that she sees signs of easing labor market and a path to bring down inflation.

U.S. shares have also been boosted by a rally in megacap stocks and a stronger-than-expected earnings season. However, some analysts say that profit-taking may be round the corner for big tech and other major growth stocks.

Meanwhile, China’s May exports slumped 7.5% year-on-year, much more compared with estimates of a 0.4% fall and the biggest decline since January, raising concerns over global demand.

At 8:32 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were flat, S&P 500 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.07%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.09%.

Among individual stocks, Netflix climbed 3.2% in premarket trading after Wells Fargo raised the stock’s target price to $500 from $400 per share, the highest on Wall Street, according to Refinitiv.

Campbell Soup fell 3.6% after the packaged food maker posted lower third-quarter gross margin, dented by high commodity and freight costs.

Salesforce added 1.1% after the cloud-based software provider announced an expanded AI partnership with Google Cloud.

Coinbase shares rose 2.9% after hitting a seven-month low on Tuesday as the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the largest U.S. crypto exchange, accusing it of operating illegally, without having first registered with regulator.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest bought 419,324 shares of Coinbase on Tuesday.

Shares of Yext Inc soared 16.7% premarket after the New York-based online marketing firm raised its annual earnings forecast. – Reuters