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U.S. Futures Mixed; Powell and Yellen Testimony in Focus

Stock Markets1 hour ago (Mar 22, 2021 07:01AM ET)

By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are seen opening in a mixed fashion Monday, looking to bounce back from a losing week with comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen later this week in focus.

At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 50 points, or 0.2%, while S&P 500 Futures traded 4 points, or 0.1%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 93 points, or 0.7%.

Powell and Yellen will appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday where they will discuss the health of the U.S. economy and the importance of fiscal and monetary stimulus in the recovery from the pandemic.

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Barkin started the ball rolling Monday, saying he’s hopeful that the U.S. economy is “on the brink of completing this recovery” and downplaying the significance of a likely rise in consumer prices this year.

Financial markets have started to position for the first interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve coming sooner than 2024, which remains the central estimate of the central bank after its last meeting.

Market participants are more inclined than the Fed to believe that the economy could easily overheat due to the massive stimulus package and the Fed’s easy money policy. U.S. Treasury yields climbed to their highest levels in more than a year last week as a result.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has slipped slightly Monday, falling below 1.70%, having climbed above 1.75% last week, and this is expected to help the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperform Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 dropped on Friday to finish the week down 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively, breaking two-week winning streaks. The Nasdaq Composite also lost 0.8% last week, despite some gains Friday.

In the corporate sector, AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) ADRs are likely to gain after data from a large U.S. trial showed the drugmaker’s vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19. This will be a boost after many European countries temporarily halted its use earlier this month after some reports that it was linked to blood clots.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) will also be in the spotlight after Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest said it expects the company’s stock to reach $3,000 by 2025, up substantially from Friday’s $654.87 close, while Reddit message board favorite GameStop (NYSE:GME) is due to report earnings for the three months through January.

Oil prices edged lower Monday, continuing the recent selloff as the fresh lockdowns in Europe increased worries about the speed of recovery of global demand for the commodity.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $61.29 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.3% to $64.36. Both contracts fell by more than 6% last week.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,734.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1917.

U.S. Futures Mixed; Powell and Yellen Testimony in Focus

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