Futures largely flat as Fed points to more rate hikes


(Reuters) – US stock futures were little changed on Thursday, as the prospects of further interest rate increases this year kept investors on the edge. Minutes of the January meeting showed the U.S. central bank’s rate-setting committee grew more confident in the need to keep raising rates, with most believing inflation would perk up. Stocks ended lower on Wednesday after the release of the minutes pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RJR to a four-year high of 2.957 percent. They were last trading at 2.9335 percent. Worries of rising inflation were at the heart of a stock market rout earlier this month. Stocks have, however, clawed back some of their losses, with the S&P 500 gaining in six of the past eight days. By 7:19 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 had gained 22 points, S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 rose 8 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 11.5 points. St Louis Fed President James Bullard told CNBC on Thursday that central bankers need to be careful not to increase interest rates too quickly this year because that could slow the economy too much. Despite Fed’s hawkish views, bets in the U.S. short-term interest rate futures continued to reflect expectations of three rate hikes this year, based on a Reuters analysis. Traders also gave a 94 percent chance that the first hike would come in March. Among stocks, Pandora Media (P.N) jumped 7.8 percent in premarket trading after the internet radio company reported quarterly revenue that topped Wall Street estimates as it added more subscribers. Roku (ROKU.O) slid more than 21 percent after the TV streaming device maker forecast current-quarter revenue below estimates. Data is expected to show the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits remained unchanged at 230,000 last week. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and the influential and outgoing president of the New York Fed, William Dudley, are expected to speak later in the day. Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’SilvaOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Source: Reuters