Futures stagnate as investors assess outlook for rate hikes By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, United States, March 19, 2021. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo

By Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors worried about the Federal Reserve’s first rate hikes after strong retail profits and data showed an economic recovery was on track .

Target Corp (NYSE 🙂 was the last major retailer to report positive results as it raised its annual forecast and beat earnings expectations, citing an early start to holiday shopping.

But the retailer’s shares fell 3.1% in pre-market trading as its third-quarter margins were hit by supply chain issues.

Lowe’s (NYSE 🙂 Cos Inc rose 2.2% after the home improvement chain raised its full-year sales forecast due to increased demand from builders and contractors, as well as a strong US real estate market.

Wall Street indices ended higher on Tuesday after data showed retail sales jumped in October, and Walmart (NYSE 🙂 and Home deposit (NYSE 🙂 both reported strong consumer demand as the holiday season approaches.

While readings have shown that a rise in inflation has so far not stifled economic growth, any further price hikes could potentially dampen an economic recovery.

The contrasting comments from Fed chairmen James Bullard and Mary Daly on Tuesday also created more uncertainty in the markets.

CME Group’s (NASDAQ 🙂 https: // Fedwatch tool sees a 19% chance of a rate hike by the Fed at its March 2022 meeting, up from an 11.8% chance last month.

Strong retail earnings this week will end a season of bullish third-quarter earnings that pushed Wall Street indices to record highs.

As of 6:54 a.m. ET, they were down 35 points, or 0.1%. were down 2.25 points, or 0.05%, and were up 16.75 points, or 0.1%.

Futures on the Nasdaq were boosted by gains from Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 and other electric car makers amid growing demand from electric vehicle makers.

Tesla rose 1.6%, while its peers Rivian Automotive and Lucid Group rose 0.9% and 8.8% respectively.

Among other actions, the drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 rose 0.8% after saying it was seeking US clearance for its investigational antiviral pill COVID-19.

Visa Inc (NYSE 🙂 fell 2.5% after Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 said it would stop accepting credit cards issued by the world’s largest payment processor in the UK at starting next year due to the high fees charged for transactions.

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