U.S. Markets Stay Quiet As Yellen Comments Awaited

U.S. Markets Stay Quiet As Yellen Comments Awaited

The U.S. Stock Futures opened the day negatively, signalling a softer trading pace for the U.S. equities. The market is likely to trade cautiously until the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen presents her thoughts on the direction of the U.S. economy as well as the monetary policy.

Divided opinion

The S&P 500 Futures had shed 0.31% to 2,021.75 and Nasdaq Futures dipped 0.26% to 4,378.12. Yellen had stuck to the dovish outlook last month while cutting the number of potential rate hikes to two from four.

However, these comments followed a series of statements by other Fed officials, who reassured early rate hikes based on the steady improvement in the economic indicators. Thus, the market participants are not looking up to Yellen to explain the possible divide over monetary stance outlook.

Economic data

According to most market analysts, there is little hope that Yellen will hint at rate hike by as early as April. During the previous day, the subdued growth in the personal spending and inflation had poured cold water on the rate hike expectations. The data had led the Atlanta Fed to trim  its U.S. first quarter growth projection to 0.6% from 1.4%. Despite this, San-Francisco Fed chief, John Williams, reiterated the upside revision in rates will be gradual and thoughtful.

Apart from Yellen’s speech, other key economic indicators due to be released today include S&P/Case-Shiller house price index for January and consumer confidence reading for March.

In  other parts of the globe, Asia witnessed a soft trading day while European markets showed a muted trading day following 4-day long Easter holiday. In commodities, oil prices fell below $40 per barrel on indications that the stock reserves in the U.S. could hit a record high. The American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly stocks data up ahead today.