Amid Fed Uncertainty, Stock Market Loses Steam on Wall Street

Stock futures on Wall Street remained mostly steady on Thursday, as investors closely monitored Federal Reserve policymakers for further insights into interest-rate strategies following a string of mixed signals.

The S&P 500 futures hovered near the baseline after the benchmark narrowly achieved its eighth consecutive day of gains on Wednesday—marking the index’s lengthiest streak in two years. Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures saw an increase of approximately 0.1%, while contracts associated with the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) dropped by around 0.1%.

Investors eagerly await Jerome Powell’s potential hints on the possibility of a rate cut during his upcoming speech, especially after the Fed chair remained silent on monetary policy during his Wednesday appearance. Recent statements from central bankers have unveiled a spectrum of perspectives, fostering uncertainty among investors who were previously convinced the Fed was finished with hikes.

As the earnings season winds down, a fresh wave of corporate reports is expected. Disney (DIS) shares surged after exceeding quarterly earnings estimates in after-hours trading, likely boosted by a tentative agreement between Hollywood studios and striking actors.

Conversely, Arm (ARM) shares declined as investors processed its initial post-IPO results, coupled with the chip designer’s backer SoftBank reporting a quarterly loss of $6.2 billion.

In the realm of commodities, oil prices rebounded marginally after hitting a three-month low due to concerns about global consumption. West Texas Intermediate crude futures (CL=F) and Brent crude futures (BZ=F) saw an increase of about 0.5%, trading at approximately $76 and nearly $80 a barrel, respectively.

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