Futures rise after Trump speech; banks up on rate talk

By By Yashaswini Swamynathan Markets Reuters

U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday as investors assessed President Donald Trump's speech, while bank stocks rose on increased possibility of an interest rate hike this month.

Continue Reading Below

In his first address to a joint session of Congress late Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to boost the U.S. economy with a "massive tax relief", overhaul the Affordable Care Act and make a $1 trillion effort on infrastructure.

His comments, though lacking in detail, underscored his pro-growth stance that has helped Wall Street hit record highs in a post-election rally.

However, the markets focused on comments from a handful of Federal Reserve officials, including the influential New York Fed President William Dudley, who said the case for tightening monetary policy had become "a lot more compelling".

The probability of a March rate hike jumped to 67 percent from roughly 30 percent after the comments, according to Thomson Reuters data. The Fed's policy-setting body meets on March 14-15.

The dollar jumped 0.58 percent to mark its biggest one-day gain since Jan. 18, while shares of Bank of America , Goldman Sachs and Citigroup rose about 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

Continue Reading Below

Yellen, who has said a rate increase could happen in an upcoming meeting, is scheduled to speak on economic outlook on Friday. Meanwhile, investors will closely watch Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard comments on Wednesday for her take on rates.

A report on consumer spending and inflation numbers from the Commerce Department is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and could bolster the odds of a rate increase this month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke its 12-day record streak on Tuesday as retail stocks declined and investors remained cautious ahead of Trump's late evening speech.

Among stocks, Lowe's jumped 5.7 percent to $78.58 after the home improvement chain issued an upbeat sales forecast for the year.

Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto tumbled 21 percent to $120 as its current-quarter revenue and profit forecast missed analysts' estimates.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:

Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were up 82 points, or 0.39 percent, with 44,717 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.45 percent, with 212,201 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 26.75 points, or 0.5 percent, on volume of 41,700 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)