By Peter Nurse
Investing.com — U.S. stocks are seen opening slightly lower Wednesday, handing back some of the previous session’s gains ahead of comments from more Fed policymakers as well as additional corporate earnings, including from entertainment giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS).
At 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 90 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 Futures traded 14 points, or 0.3%, lower and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 20 points, or 0.2%.
The main U.S. averages closed with strong gains Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell failed to deliver a hawkish message in the wake of Friday’s strong jobs report, instead acknowledging that a “disinflation” process has begun.
The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 265 points, or 0.8%, higher, the broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite soared 1.9%.
Investors have been looking for signs that the Fed is getting close to pausing its rate increases, and thus speeches from a number of FOMC members later Wednesday, including from John Williams and Christopher Waller, will be studied carefully for further clues.
There is a slew of companies due to report quarterly earnings due Wednesday. So far, more than half of the S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings, with 69.1% of them beating expectations, according to Refinitiv.
Walt Disney will be in focus as the media company delivers its first quarterly results since the return of Bob Iger as CEO after the bell.
There are also results due from the likes of CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), Under Armour (NYSE:UA), Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) and Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) before the bell, and Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) after the close.
Elsewhere, Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) stock fell almost 5% premarket after the burrito chain missed expectations on the top and bottom line for the recent quarter as customers spent less in their restaurants.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock rose 1.8% premarket after the tech giant unveiled a new version of its Bing search engine and Edge Web browser, powered by an upgraded version of ChatGPT’s underlying technology.
Oil prices traded higher Wednesday, helped by bullish inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute, adding to recent gains on optimism over the recovery in demand from China, the largest crude importer in the world.
The industry group showed crude stocks fell by about 2.2 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 3, defying expectations of growth of 2.5 million barrels.
The official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.
By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $77.81 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.7% to $84.27. Both contracts are up close to 4% this month to date.
Additionally, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,893.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.0742.