MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Look To Test Records As Traders Brace For Powell Hearing

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Strategist: Fed's Jerome Powell 'unlikely to upend the current narrative'

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U.S. stock futures on Tuesday pointed to a small rise at the open, putting the main indexes on track to hang around record territory.

Investors are waiting for a flurry of Federal Reserve speeches and economic releases, including remarks before lawmakers from Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's pick to run the U.S. central bank.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

S&P 500 futures edged up by 2.70 points, or 0.1%, to 2,604.50, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures advanced by 42 points, or 0.2%, to 23,604. Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 5.25 points, or 0.1%, to 6,418.50.

On Monday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both closed slightly lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-500-poised-for-fresh-record-as-cyber-monday-keeps-retailers-in-the-spotlight-2017-11-27), while the Dow inched higher, as each gauge stayed within striking distance of an all-time closing high achieved last week.

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The three equity benchmarks are up between 16% and 28% for the year as of Monday's close, boosted by factors such as an expanding U.S. economy, rising corporate profits, anemic expected returns for other assets and bets that the Trump administration will deliver tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.

What are strategists saying?

"The market posted another intraday all time high yesterday at 23,638, and although the bulls retreated into the close, there is little sign of any real growing bearishness," said Richard Perry, a Hantec Markets analyst, in a note.

Powell is scheduled to testify at a Senate confirmation hearing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meet-the-next-fed-boss-same-as-the-old-boss-jerome-powell-to-face-senate-glare-2017-11-26) Tuesday morning, giving investors their first big clue on how he hopes to operate at the Fed. His opening statement for the hearing was released Monday, indicating he expects to stay on the course (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/powell-to-testify-fed-will-continue-to-hike-interest-rates-shrink-the-balance-sheet-2017-11-27) set by the current Fed chief, Janet Yellen.

"Our U.S. economists argue he is unlikely to upend the current narrative and last night's release of the testimony confirms that," said Elsa Lignos, RBC's global head of foreign exchange strategy, in a note. "His big differentiating factor vs. Yellen is that he is approaching financial regulation with a lighter touch."

What could help drive markets?

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is due to give a speech on financial safety for the aging population at his bank's headquarters, and New York Fed President William Dudley is slated to give opening remarks at a conference on the U.S. Treasury markets later in the day.

Late Monday, Dudley said he still expects a strong job market will help push inflation up over time, and he repeated his view that low inflation with low unemployment is "not actually a bad thing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-dudley-expects-strong-job-market-will-eventually-boost-inflation-2017-11-27)."

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

On the data front, the advanced U.S. trade deficit in goods rose 6.5% to $68.3 billion in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-trade-deficit-surges-in-october-advanced-report-shows-2017-11-28). Separately, home prices rose at their fastest pace in more than three years in September (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-prices-rise-at-fastest-pace-since-june-2014-case-shiller-says-2017-11-28).

A November figure for a consumer confidence index is on tap for 10 a.m. Eastern, with a reading of 124.8 expected.

Read:Bond traders don't care about nonfarm payrolls anymore (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bond-traders-dont-care-about-nonfarm-payrolls-anymore-in-one-chart-2017-11-27)

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.(BWLD) climbed 6% in premarket action after Arby's Restaurant Group Inc., which is owned by private-equity firm Roark Capital Group, said it has agreed to acquire the restaurant chain (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/roark-backed-arbys-to-buy-buffalo-wild-wings-in-deal-valued-at-29-billion-including-debt-2017-11-28) for $157 a share in a deal valued at $2.9 billion, including debt.

Shares in Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN) rose 0.6% premarket as investors assess how the e-commerce giant performed on Cyber Monday. Adobe data have indicated this year's Cyber Monday sales set a new record (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cyber-monday-expected-to-be-largest-online-sales-day-ever-with-659-billion-spent-adobe-2017-11-28). Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(WMT) and other retailers also could see active trading.

Wells Fargo & Co.'s stock (WFC) dipped 0.2% premarket following claims the bank overcharged foreign-exchange clients (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wells-fargo-overcharged-hundreds-of-business-clients-report-2017-11-27).

What are other assets doing?

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-stocks-drive-european-stocks-higher-as-shell-strikes-upbeat-tone-2017-11-28) traded higher, while Asian markets closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-mixed-as-investors-keep-wary-eye-on-chinese-stocks-2017-11-27). Oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-move-lower-as-doubts-creep-in-over-opec-outcome-2017-11-28) continued to pull back, as some analysts voiced doubts over what a Thursday meeting of key producers will achieve. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-rises-as-traders-wait-to-see-if-feds-powell-will-give-hawkish-hints-2017-11-28) rose, and gold futures were roughly unchanged.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 28, 2017 09:07 ET (14:07 GMT)