Dow futures trade lower after public holiday

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Dow futures lower; Fed officials set to guide sentiment — U.S. stock futures are trading lower Tuesday, handing back some of the previous week’s outsized gains with comments from Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, in focus.

By 06:50 ET (10:50 GMT), the Dow Jones Futures contract was down 120 points or 0.4%, S&P 500 Futures traded 17 points or 0.4% lower, and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 65 points or 0.4%.

The main Wall Street indices all posted strong gains last week after the Fed paused its year-long rate-hiking cycle, with the broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite recording their best weekly performances since March, rising 2.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

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Fed speakers in spotlight

However, these averages are set to start the new holiday-shortened week on a more subdued note, with speeches from a number of Fed officials likely to be the main drivers of sentiment given the absence of significant economic data – there are housing starts and building permits for May due later Tuesday.

While the U.S. central bank hit pause after 10 consecutive interest rate increases since last year, it also guided towards two further hikes this year if the situation allows.

The likes of Federal Reserve St. Louis President James Bullard, New York Fed President John Williams and Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr are all set to speak later in the session.

Additionally, Fed chair Jerome Powell starts his two-day congressional testimony on Wednesday.

Modest Chinese interest rate cut

On a wider note, sentiment also took a hit after the Chinese central bank delivered a 10-basis-point reduction to its lending benchmarks, disappointing those looking for a bigger cut to support its struggling property sector.

Expectations have been raised that Beijing will announce more decisive Chinese stimulus measures as economic data last week suggested the world’s second largest economy was struggling to maintain the initial momentum generated by the lifting of COVID restrictions.

FedEx quarterly results due

In corporate news, delivery giant FedEx (NYSE:FDX) is scheduled to report its quarterly numbers after Tuesday’s close. 

The company could see a profit boost from cost cuts undertaken last year, although its investors will be keen on knowing whether those actions have helped it catch up with rival United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) on the margin front.

Oil market just higher on Chinese demand

Crude prices edged higher Tuesday, helped by signs of increasing demand from China, the world’s largest importer.

By 06:50 ET, U.S. crude futures were 0.3% higher at $72.11 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 1% to $76.86 per barrel.

The People’s Bank of China cut two benchmark lending rates by 10 basis points each, the first in 10 months, but this was widely expected and it was the forecast that the country’s 2023 crude oil demand is expected to rise 3.5% on last year, by China National Petroleum Corporation’s research arm, which helped the tone.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,963.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0928.

(Oliver Gray contributed to this item.)

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