Stock futures were flat on Thursday as Wall Street looked set to build on its best day in nearly a month.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26 points, or less than 0.1%. Futures for the S&P 500 fell around 0.1%, while those for the Nasdaq 100 also traded 0.1% lower.
Traders looked forward to a Q&A session from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the Cato Institute later in the day as they looked for more clues about the central bank’s plans for future rate hikes. The European Central Bank will also announce its latest policy decision on Thursday.
The stock market is on its way back during Wednesday’s regular opening hours. The Dow gained around 436 points, or 1.4%. The S&P 500 gained 1.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.1%.
It was the best day since August 10 for all three averages, and the Nasdaq snapped a seven-day losing streak.
Even with Wednesday’s rally, stocks remain in an overall downtrend. Concerns about a slowing economy and further rate hikes by the Federal Reserve are pushing some investors away from riskier parts of the market.
“Recession risk is increasing and we have moved more defensively in our portfolios as a result. However, high inflation means that traditional ‘risk off’ strategies such as cash and government bonds can create a drag on total return,” says Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments, said in a note to clients.
“We are fully invested in our portfolios, using selective plays within the overall risk-neutral position to build resilience against volatility and inflation. In our equity arm, this includes a strong overweight to value equity and dividend payers,” Goodwin added.
On Thursday morning, investors will get their last look at the US economy with data on jobless claims. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 235,000 initial jobless claims, up slightly from 232,000 last week.