Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), July 26, 2023.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Stock futures rose slightly to kick off the final trading week of August.
Stocks are coming off a winning session following fresh remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 247.48 points, or 0.7%, on Friday, but finished the week 0.45% lower. The S&P 500 added about 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced about 0.9%. Both the broad-based and tech-heavy index notched their first winning week in four, adding about 0.8% and 2.3%, respectively.
Speaking Friday at the annual central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell pointed to some signs of continued economic growth and strong consumer spending, but indicated that the central bank would “proceed carefully” with additional hikes.
“Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high,” Powell said in prepared remarks. “We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving sustainably down toward our objective.”
As of Sunday evening, traders are pricing in a nearly 20% chance that the Fed will hike rates again at its upcoming September meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
“The intention of remaining restrictive still holds this year until the Fed is confident that inflation is starting to move closer to their target,” said Brian Price, head of Investment Management at Commonwealth Financial Network.
“At this point, the market appears to believe that one more interest rate hike is likely before the Fed hits pause,” he added.
The final trading week of August kicks off Monday, with all the major indices on track to finish the month with losses. The Dow and S&P have slumped 3.4% and 4%, respectively, since the start of the month, while the Nasdaq lost about 5.3%.
Wall Street this week will parse more economic data — looking at August’s Dallas Fed index — ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs report. The results could offer more insight into the health of the consumer, the macroeconomic backdrop and the U.S. labor market.