Durable goods orders on deck; Hurricane Harvey barrels toward Texas
Continue Reading Below
U.S stocks looked set to finish the week with modest gains with futures pointing to a higher open Friday, as investors geared up to hear Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen speak at the Jackson Hole symposium.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53 points, or 0.2%, to 21,839.00, while S&P 500 futures were up 8 points, or 0.3%, at 2,448.50 after earlier wading in the red. Nasdaq-100 futures picked up 25.25 points, or 0.4%, to 5,866.25.
Throughout the week, investors have focused on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., amid a lack of other trading cues. The wait for Yellen finally ends when she speaks Friday, when investors will listen closely to her words for monetary-policy clues.
"Comments made by U.S. policy makers so far from the Wyoming gathering have generally been supportive not just of an unwinding of the Fed's bloated balance sheet, but also for another rate hike before the end of the year," said Henry Croft, research analyst at Accendo Markets.
"Markets now look to Yellen to clarify the institution's stance on both of these pivotal events, with any shred of new information likely to be thoroughly scrutinized by investors," he said in a note.
Continue Reading Below
Also:Fed watchers still fret about policy missteps as Jackson Hole gets under way (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-watchers-still-fret-about-policy-missteps-as-jackson-hole-gets-under-way-2017-08-24)
The seasonally low-volume period can also make markets prone to swings. On Thursday, the main U.S. stock indexes finished a volatile session slightly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-perk-up-before-central-bankers-take-center-stage-in-wyoming-2017-08-24). The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.1% lower, the S&P 500 shed 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.1%.
For the week, the Dow was on course to rise 0.5%, the S&P 500 looked set to add 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite was on track for a 0.9% advance, which would end a four-week run of declines.
Jackson Hole powwow: Investors won't have to wait long to hear from Yellen, as her speech is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, half an hour after equity trading gets under way.
Read:Here's what investors will be watching when Draghi, Yellen speak at Jackson Hole (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-investors-will-be-watching-when-draghi-yellen-speak-at-jackson-hole-2017-08-22)
But she won't be the only headliner at the Jackson Hole summit, which started Thursday and runs through Saturday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will also be closely followed for hints as to when and how the bank will begin to unwind its monetary easing.
"The ECB President has made a habit of going off script at Jackson Hole in the past, and whilst a report from Reuters last week stated insiders believed no major policy announcements were to be made, many are hoping he may let slip an implicit hint at the start date of the ECB's long-awaited [quantitative easing] taper," said Croft.
Draghi is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Economic data: Orders for durable, or long-lasting, U.S. goods are expected to have fallen 7% in July. The Commerce Department's report is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Stocks in focus:Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ADMS) shares surged 45% premarket after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Thursday approved the company's Gocovri treatment of dyskinesia, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/adamas-pharma-shares-soar-on-parkinsons-dyskinesia-drug-approval-2017-08-24) or abnormal or involuntary movements associated with Parkinson's disease.
Ulta Beauty Inc.(ULTA) shares dropped 4.8% in low premarket volume trading after the retailer's results late Thursday showed second-quarter sales growth slowed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ulta-beauty-shares-fall-as-companys-sales-growth-slows-2017-08-24). Earnings were above Wall Street's expectations.
Twitter Inc.(TWTR) shares were off 0.7% in low volume trading after Jefferies analyst Brent Thill downgraded the social-media company to hold from buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/twitter-shares-fall-after-downgrade-facebook-is-clear-winner-analyst-says-2017-08-24) on Thursday.
Other markets: The dollar is likely to be a focus as the key speeches at Jackson Hole roll out, but was lackluster early Friday. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) , a gauge of the greenback against six rivals, was slightly lower at 93.17.
The euro was slightly stronger against the dollar with the shared currency buying $1.1820.
Oil prices were up 0.8% but still holding below $48 a barrel. Investors will watch for developments surrounding Hurricane Harvey, with Texas bracing for a potential category-three storm.
Read:Why Gulf of Mexico's Hurricane Harvey is bearish for oil (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-gulf-of-mexico-storm-harvey-is-bearish-for-oil-2017-08-24)
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.1%, and Japan's Nikkei tacked on 0.5%. European equities pushed modestly highly. Gold prices were largely unchanged at $1,292.6 an ounce.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 25, 2017 08:03 ET (12:03 GMT)