Dow futures see lackluster trade as investors parse bank earnings, Powell speech

U.S. stock-index futures on Wednesday were set to see subdued trade as investors parsed results from some of the biggest banks as the first quarter reporting season begins, with JPMorgan Chase so far delivering earnings and revenue that were better than expectations.

Wall Street also was watching for the latest word from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later in the session as well as the Fed’s Beige Book report on business conditions.

Market participants were also watching the public listing of crypto platform Coinbase Global, which is coming as bitcoin prices
the world’s most prominent crypto, were heading to records.

How are stock benchmarking trading?

On Tuesday, the Dow

fell 68.13 points to end at 33,677.27, a decline of 0.2%. However, the S&P 500

climbed 13.60 points, closing up 0.3%, to a record 4,141.59, its 21st of the year; The Nasdaq Composite Index

closed rose 146.10 points, or 1.1%, finishing at 13,996.10, a mere 0.71% from its Feb. 12 record close. The Nasdaq-100 index

also finished at a record on Tuesday.

What’s driving the market?

Investors are keying in on first-quarter reports from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Group

and Wells Fargo & Co.

on Wednesday for evidence on the health of the country’s financial institutions and for their outlook for the economy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that expectations were high for the sector, with analysts expecting rising profits and a reduction in the amount that financials have set aside for potential losses.

Meanwhile, Powell is slated to deliver a speech at 12 p.m. Eastern at the Economic Club of Washington, where his comments could be watched for clues on the health of the economy and his view on inflation.

“Mr. Powell is likely to reiterate the message that the economic outlook has brightened substantially, that risks remain, that the Fed will base policy on data rather than expectations, and that it is likely to be ‘some time’ before sufficient substantial progress is made to warrant tapering its asset purchase program,” wrote analysts at UBS in a Wednesday research note.

Later in the session, investors may also watch for the Fed’s Beige Book report on business conditions in the Fed’s 12 districts amid the COVID pandemic.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Coinbase Global
    one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to go public, is set to start trading Wednesday with a reference price of $250 a share.

  • Shares of JPMorgan Chase & CoJPM fell in premarket trading Wednesday, even as the banking giant reported first-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, as results benefited from an improving economy and credit reserve releases of $5.2 billion.

  • Dollar General CorpDG said Wednesday that it aims to hire up to 20,000 people at in-person and virtual hiring events that the discount retailer will host from April 19 through April 23.

  • Jack in the Box Inc. JACK disclosed Wednesday that it will be “separating” from Andrew Martin, who has been the fast food chain’s chief information officer since November 2016, effective May 7.

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