Wall Street futures advanced Wednesday as traders prepared for what most expect to be a sharp interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve to cool surging inflation.
Futures for Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.8% while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4%. Shares in Europe were higher at midday, markets in Asia finished mixed and oil prices rose modestly.
Boeing shares rose 3.2% in premarket after the aerospace company said it delivered more planes in the first quarter than it has since the start of the pandemic. Shares of technology heavyweights Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet rose after their latest quarterly reports. Ford and Facebook parent Meta report results after the bell.
The Fed on Wednesday is expected to announce an increase of up to three-quarters of a percentage point in its benchmark interest rate, triple its usual margin. Investors worry such aggressive action by the Fed and other central banks in Europe and Asia to control inflation that is at multi-decade highs might derail global economic growth.
“The main risk at this stage is in fact an inflation ‘overkill’ with monetary tightening too abrupt, unnecessarily pushing up the unemployment rate,” Thomas Costerg of Pictet Wealth Management said in a report. Costerg said most economic indicators and lower commodity prices already point to slower inflation ahead.
In midday trading, the FTSE 100 in London climbed 0.6%, the DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.4% and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.3%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1% to 3,275.76 while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.2% to 27,715.75. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 1.4% to 20,620.10.
Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.2% to 6,823.20 after data showed Australian inflation rose to 6.1% in the latest quarter from 5.1% but the increase was smaller than forecast.
The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.1% to 2,415.53 and India’s Sensex rose 0.8% to 55,715.95. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets advanced.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell 1.2% after Walmart warned that high inflation is hurting American consumer spending. Walmart shares fell 7.6% and dragged Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s along with it.
The Dow dropped 0.7% Tuesday, while the Nasdaq composite closed 1.9% lower as tech stocks retreated.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 99 cents to $95.97 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.72 on Tuesday to $94.98. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, added 97 cents to $100.44 per barrel in London.
The dollar rose to 136.86 yen from Tuesday’s 136.00 yen. The euro gained to $1.0146 from $1.0120.