Stocks Stall as Wall Street Contemplates Fed’s Next Move

Stock market futures on Wall Street held relatively steady on Thursday as investors closely observed Federal Reserve policymakers for additional insights into interest-rate strategies following a series of conflicting signals.

The S&P 500 futures remained close to the previous day’s levels after the index narrowly secured its eighth consecutive day of gains on Wednesday, marking the longest streak in two years. Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures showed a modest increase of approximately 0.1%, while contracts associated with the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) experienced a slight decline of around 0.1%.

Investors are eagerly anticipating potential indications from Jerome Powell regarding the likelihood of a rate cut during his upcoming speech, particularly after the Fed chair refrained from discussing monetary policy during his Wednesday appearance. Recent statements from central bankers have presented a range of viewpoints, contributing to uncertainty among investors who previously believed that the Fed had completed its hikes.

As the earnings season nears its end, a fresh set of corporate reports is anticipated. Disney (DIS) shares surged after surpassing quarterly earnings estimates in after-hours trading, likely influenced by a tentative agreement between Hollywood studios and striking actors.

In contrast, Arm (ARM) shares declined as investors assessed its initial post-IPO results, coupled with SoftBank, the chip designer’s backer, reporting a quarterly loss of $6.2 billion.

Oil prices saw a slight recovery within the realm of commodities after hitting a three-month low due to concerns about global consumption. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (CL=F) and Brent crude futures (BZ=F) each experienced an increase of approximately 0.5%, trading at around $76 and nearly $80 per barrel, respectively.

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