US futures hold onto gains as rate-cut hopes persist


US stock futures were steady on Tuesday, with an eighth weekly win still within reach as investors stayed upbeat on the prospect for interest-rate cuts despite warnings those hopes are overdone.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) all hovered just above the flatline. The stock gauges edged higher on Monday, as the Dow eked out another record close.

Some steam has seeped out of stocks’ recent rally as Federal Reserve officials tried to quell bets on a rate cut as early as March. They said it’s “premature” to be convinced the central bank is done with rate hikes and signaled its policy will still be data-driven.

Read more: What the Fed rate-hike pause means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan decided on Tuesday to keep interest rates below zero and gave no hint of when it might exit negative levels.

But as US stocks hold onto gains, investors appear to be looking through those cautionary signs — for now. Friday’s update on the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, will likely help make the argument for or against faster and earlier cuts.

Investors are also keeping an eye on oil prices, as more companies join BP in avoiding transits through the Red Sea after attacks on shipping in the important trade route. West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) and Brent crude futures (BZ=F) traded near the flatline, at around $72 and $78 a barrel, respectively.

Live1 update

  • A record is a record

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose 0.86 points on Monday.

    That was enough for the blue chip index to clinch a record close.

    Elsewhere on the superlative front, the S&P 500’s (^GSPC) close on Monday brought the index to within 60 points of a record close. For those keeping score at home, 4,796.56 is the benchmark index’s record close reached back on Jan. 3, 2022.

    On Tuesday, data on housing starts out at 9:00 a.m. ET and earnings from FedEx (FDX) set for release after the bell are the main calendar events for US investors.

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