Stock futures rise after Bullard boosts rate cut hopes

June 4, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday after a senior Federal Reserve official pointed the way to a cut in interest rates in response to slowing economic growth, helping Wall Street recover from a selloff in technology stocks a day earlier.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said late on Monday that a rate cut “may be warranted soon”, driving Fed funds futures to price in a 67% chance the central bank would reduce key short-term borrowing costs at its July 30-31 policy meeting.

That would provide a fillip to the Wall Street, whose three main indexes have shed at least 6% in May after a sudden flare up in trade tensions and Washington’s threat to slap tariffs on Mexican goods.

“We are looking for circuit breakers to put an end to a slide in sentiment in the United States. A significant dovish move in central banks or a resolution in trade could be the big circuit breakers,” said Florian Hense, European economist at Berenberg.

Investors will be paying close attention to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech before a monetary policy conference in Chicago later in the day for his economic outlook.

High-profile technology companies, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Google-parent Alphabet Inc were up marginally in premarket trading after tumbling a day earlier on fears of being the targets of U.S. government antitrust regulators.

The Nasdaq has lost 10.2% since its May 3 all-time high, confirming a correction territory, while the S&P 500 is 7.6% away from its record high hit on May 1.

At 7:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 106 points, or 0.43%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.39% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 25.5 points, or 0.36%.

Among other movers, Ventas Inc fell 2.5% after it agreed to buy a portfolio of Canadian Seniors Housing communities in partnership with Le Groupe Maurice in a deal valued at $1.8 billion.

Data at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show U.S. factory orders fell 0.9% in May compared to 1.9% rise the month before.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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