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Investors anticipate Powell's remarks as Dow futures increase by 20 points

Investors are anticipating a positive opening for US stocks on Tuesday, with the latest comments from Fed head Jerome Powell being closely watched for insights into the state of the US economy and the expected path of monetary policy.

As of 07:00 ET (12:00 GMT), Dow Futures were up by 20 points or 0.1%, while S&P 500 Futures traded 6 points higher, or 0.2%, and Nasdaq 100 Futures rose by 33 points, or 0.3%. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1%, while the S&P 500 rose by 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.1%, after seeing strong gains the previous week.


Powell is expected to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee over two days starting Tuesday. With recent robust economic data and soaring US Treasury yields, Powell's testimony is expected to be hawkish, with a suggested terminal rate of around 5.50%, indicating that there may be another 75 basis points of hikes to come. Analysts believe that the focus of the markets will be on whether Powell will say the Fed would be open to 50 basis points hikes in the future, as he may also be drawn out on what the Fed considers the terminal rate.


Economic data set to be released on Tuesday includes January's wholesale trade sales and consumer credit, but the main focus will be on the jobs report due out on Friday. Analysts predict the economy will have added 200,000 jobs in February, which is significantly lower than the 517,000 created in January.


Corporate news also features in today's market, with Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) set to announce thousands more job cuts to restore profitability, according to a Bloomberg report. Quarterly earnings are also expected from Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) and personal styling platform Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX), while WW International (NASDAQ:WW) rose by 12% pre-market after announcing its plans to acquire Sequence, a subscription telehealth platform.


In the commodities market, oil prices edged lower on renewed optimism that China would see a strong economic recovery this year, resulting in increased crude demand from the world's largest importer. The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly estimate of US inventories later in the session. By 07:00 ET, US crude futures traded 0.4% lower at $80.11 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.5% to $85.75, around a five-week high. Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,846.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.0660.


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