U.S. stock futures rose Friday as investors pondered the Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking path in light of fresh commentary from central bank speakers.
Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.3%, and S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 33 points.
Those moves come as U.S. Treasury yields retreated. The benchmark 10-year yield fell more than 6 basis points to 4%. The 2-year rate dipped to 4.855%.
The major averages are on their way to a positive week. The S&P 500 is up 0.28%, on pace to snap a three-week decline, while the Nasdaq has a 0.6% gain. The Dow is also up 0.6% on the week.
The Dow on Thursday had its best day since Feb. 13, closing 1.1% higher. The S&P 500 rose 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7%. These gains came after Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that he thinks the central bank can keep its interest rate hikes to 25 basis points rather than the half-point increase favored by some other officials.
However, Fed Governor Christopher J. Waller struck a tougher tone in his comments to the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America, raising the possibility of a higher terminal rate if inflation numbers don’t cool.
He referred to January’s big payrolls report, which showed the economy added 517,000 jobs, as well as the latest reading from the consumer price index and personal consumption expenditures reports.
“If those data reports continue to come in too hot, the policy target range will have to be raised this year even more to ensure that we do not lose the momentum that was in place before the data for January were released,” Waller said.
The road ahead is a tough one for the central bank, regardless of the messaging they’re relaying to the public.
“No matter how slow the Fed goes, no matter how much they ‘communicate’ what they want to do, there is no avoiding the potholes of reversing extraordinary easing,” Bleakley chief investment officer Peter Boockvar wrote in a note.
“When markets and the economy have been addicted and medicated for so long on low rates and QE, there will never be the right time to ease up,” he said.
On the economic data front, the Institute of Supply Management is due to release its Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report on Friday morning. Investors will also listen for further commentary from central bank officials, including Fed Governor Michelle Bowman and Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin.