Stock futures hit record highs ahead of inflation data, Fed chair speech

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures hit record highs on Wednesday, powered by bets of more fiscal aid, while investors looked to inflation data and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clues on the pace of an economic rebound.

FILE PHOTO: Traders wearing masks work,on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Data at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) is expected to show U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3% in January following a 0.4% increase in December.

But that is unlikely to have an impact on the Fed, which has signaled it would tolerate higher prices “for some time” as the economy climbs out of a coronavirus-driven recession. Powell will be speaking about the state of the U.S. labor market in a webinar at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT).

President Joe Biden on Tuesday agreed to a proposal by Democratic lawmakers to limit or phase out stimulus payments to higher-income individuals as part of his administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Wall Street’s main indexes have scaled a series of all-time peaks recently, with investors moving into sectors such as energy, banks and industrials that are poised to benefit from a recovering economy.

Investors’ focus is also on the progress in vaccination efforts. The U.S. government is set to begin shipping of COVID-19 vaccines directly to community health centers next week in an effort to speed up inoculations.

Eli Lilly and Co became the latest drugmaker to receive an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its combination antibody therapy to fight COVID-19. Its shares rose 2.1% in premarket trading.

At 06:23 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 110 points, or 0.35%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 15.25 points, or 0.39% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.43%.

Cisco Systems Inc slipped about 5% after it reported a decline in revenue for a fifth straight quarter.

Twitter Inc added about 5% after it beat Wall Street targets for quarterly sales and profit, and forecast a strong start to 2021 as ad spending rebounds from a rock bottom.

Lyft Inc jumped 13% after the ride-hailing firm said it could make an adjusted profit by the third quarter of this year despite the pandemic, thanks to additional cost cuts and an expected rebound in ride-hail demand.

Rival Uber Technologies Inc gained 6% ahead of its results.

A largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings so far has boosted investor sentiment, easing concerns over high valuations.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V