Stock futures volatile as oil continues rise


U.S. equity futures traded cautiously as oil continued to climb higher, the day after the head of the Federal Reserve said he supports a smaller rise in interest rates than some expected.

The major futures indexes suggest a decline of 0.2% when the opening bell rings on Wall Street.

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Oil prices continue to rally as shipping and supply concerns continue due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. crude gained $4.46 to $115.07 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the price basis for international oils, added $4.70 to hit $117.60 per barrel in London.

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OPEC and its allies, including Russia, decided to maintain an increase in output by 400,000 barrels per day in March despite the price surge and ignoring calls from consumers for more crude, according to Reuters.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File / Associated Press)

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank is set to raise its key interest rate for the first time since 2018. He said he supports a traditional rate hike of 0.25 percentage points instead of the bigger rise recommended by some policymakers.

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Powell said the impact on the U.S. economy of Russia’s attack is “highly uncertain.”

Ahead of the opening bell, the Labor Department is out with its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 225,000, down slightly from 232,000 the previous week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are anticipated to edge down to 1.475 million, holding below pre-pandemic levels.

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The big report of the month comes on Friday when the government releases the February jobs report. The U.S. economy is estimated to have added 400,000 new nonfarm jobs.

A Now Hiring sign at a business in Richmond, Virginia (AP Photo/Steve Helber / AP Newsroom)

Traders will get to study several data points, including revised fourth-quarter productivity and labor costs.

A key number to watch is when the Institute for Supply Management releases its non-manufacturing PMI for February. This important gauge of services sector activity is expected to rise to 61.0, up slightly from 59.9 in January. 

The Commerce Department will also post data on January factory orders. Watch for an increase of 0.7%, reversing a 0.4% slide in December.

In on the earnings front, the focus is on retail with results coming from Kroger, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale, Burlington Stores, and Big Lots.

In Europe, London’s FTSE rose 0.4%, Germany’s DAX added 0.3% and France’s CAC gained 0.5%.

In Asia, The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.7%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.1%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33891.35 +596.40 +1.79%
SP500 S&P 500 4386.54 +80.28 +1.86%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13752.016215 +219.56 +1.62%

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to 4,386.54. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.8% to 33,891.35. The Nasdaq composite advanced 1.6% to 13,752.02.

More than 90% of stocks in the S&P 500 rose. Tech, finance and health care companies accounted for a big share of the rally. Energy stocks also helped lift the index as they rode higher oil prices.

Ford Motor Co. jumped 8.4% after it said it was accelerating its transformation into an electric-vehicle company and separated its EV and internal combustion operations.

Bitcoin traded above $43,000.

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The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, or the difference between its market price and the payout at maturity, rose to 1.88% from Tuesday’s 1.72%. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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