Wednesday, September 19, 2018

© Reuters. Wall Street© Reuters. Wall Street – Wall Street futures were steady to lower on Thursday, after closing the previous session at fresh record highs as the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting appeared to confirm the possibility of a December rate hike.

The blue-chip Dow futures eased 0.09%, the S&P 500 futures slipped 0.14%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.02% by 07:00 a.m. ET (11:00 GMT)

The minutes of the Fed’s September policy meeting released on Wednesday showed that several policymakers believe additional tightening will depend on upcoming inflation data.

However, most Fed members said they feel another rate increase this year “was likely to be warranted.”

Market participants were also focusing on a fresh batch of corporate earnings reports after BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) both reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday.

Financial stocks were expected to be in the spotlight, with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) scheduled to report results on Thursday. Analysts have already warned that bank results will surely be affected by a lack of volatility compared with a year earlier.

The consumer staples sector was also likely to remain in focus after Kroger (NYSE:KR) said on Wednesday that it was considering the sale of its nearly 800 convenience stores, sending the grocery store’s shares up 0.82% in after-hour trade.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) could continue to move higher after announcing earlier in the week that it expects online sales to explode next year. The retailer had already reported a 60% increase in U.S. e-commerce sales last quarter.

Market participants were looking ahead to reports on U.S. jobless claims and producer price inflation due later in the day, as well as the highly-anticipated consumer price inflation data set to be released on Friday.

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