Stock futures ticked higher in early Thursday trading.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 23 points, or 0.07%, while those tied to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 gained 0.22% and 0.24%, respectively.
The overnight moves followed a sharp rally during regular trading, with the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P snapping three-day losing streaks as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell appeared to confirm a slowdown in the central bank’s tightening — a question that’s lingered in recent weeks.
“The market is taking comfort in Powell’s balanced tone – particularly the indication of slowing interest rate hikes ahead and ‘risk management’ to mitigate risk of overtightening,” said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management.
On Wednesday, the Dow jumped 737.24 points, or 2.18%, to 34,589.77, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq and S&P surged 4.41% and 3.09%, respectively. All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the day higher, led by technology stocks that have come under pressure this year on fears of slowing growth.
All the major averages finished November higher. The Nasdaq rose 4.37% — its second positive month in a row for the first time since a three-month streak ending December 2021. Both the S&P and Dow rose 5.38% and 5.67%, respectively, to finish their second month of gains for the first time since August 2021.
Investors’ focus Thursday turns to initial jobless claims ahead of the much anticipated November jobs report due out Friday. The payrolls report is expected to provide more clarity on the labor market, and whether it continues to cool. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimate the economy added 200,000 jobs in November, down from 261,000 additions in October. They also anticipate that the unemployment rate held steady from the prior month at 3.7%.
Personal income and personal consumption expenditures data are also expected, along with earnings from Kroger, Dollar General, and Ulta Beauty.