Wall Street monitors speech from Fed chair Jerome Powell

Wall Street monitors speech from Fed chair Jerome Powell

U.S. stock index futures were higher Friday morning, as market participants awaited a key speech from the Federal Reserve’s top official.

At around 03:00 a.m. ET, Dow futures rose 108 points, indicating a positive open of more than 92 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq were both slightly higher.

Market focus is largely attuned to the U.S. central bank’s annual Jackson Hole symposium, with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell expected to address an audience of policymakers and economists at around 10:00 a.m. ET.

Powell faces the tough challenge of presenting a unified voice on Fed policy from the most divided U.S. central bank in years.

It comes as both the Fed and Powell are under an unprecedented siege from an angry president, while a speech that fails to assure investors the U.S. central bank will continue to cut interest rates could create even more market volatility.

As of Friday morning, Fed funds futures were pricing a likelihood of almost 90% for a 25 basis point rate cut at the September meeting, and between one or two further quarter-point rate cuts between then and the end of the year.

On the data front, new home sales for July will be released at around 10:00 a.m. ET.

In corporate news, Foot Locker, Buckle and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers are expected to report their latest quarterly results before the opening bell.

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