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U.S. stock futures were hovering near the flat line on Wednesday, as investors awaited a heavy batch of pre-Thanksgiving data, which will include the latest minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • S&P 500 futures
    ES00,
    +0.09%

    were up 6.75 points, or 0.1%, at 4,016.75

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
    YM00,
    +0.08%

    rose 45 points, or 0.1%, to 34,169

  • Nasdaq-100 futures
    NQ00,
    +0.02%

    rose 9.25 points to 11,762

Stocks finished higher on Tuesday, with the S&P 500
SPX,
+1.36%

closing up 53.64 points, or 1.4%, to 4,003.58, the Dow industrials
DJIA,
+1.18%

gaining 397.82 points, or 1.2%, to close at 34,098.10. The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+2.22%

advanced 149.89 points, or 1.4%, to close at 11,174.40.

What’s driving markets?

In likely holiday-thinned trade, markets may struggle to follow up on Tuesday’s gains, which were in part driven by continued hopes of a softening stance in the Fed’s rate-hiking plans.

November’s meeting minutes due at 2 p.m. Eastern, will be watched closely for clues as to how high the fed-funds rate needs to go and how long it will stay there in order to bring inflation under control. The Fed hiked its rate by 0.75 percentage points to a range of 3.75% to 4% at that meeting.

“Investors may be on the hunt for clues that they’ve acted prematurely, or that there’s actually more support for such a slowdown in tightening and less for a higher terminal rate than they previously thought,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, in a note to clients.

Erlam said the potential for answers to those questions is likely “creating the paralysis in the markets this morning.” 

Read: This isn’t a ‘close your eyes and buy anything’ kind of market

Elsewhere, Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said late Tuesday that significant household savings could heighten the need to keep interest rates elevated and consumer spending under control. She reportedly made the comments in a panel hosted by the Central Bank of Chile in Santiago on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Wednesday will also bring a bucketload of data, kicking off with durable goods for October and initial jobless claims due at 8:30 a.m., followed by the flash S&P U.S. manufacturing and services purchasing managers indexes at 9:45 a.m. The University of Michigan’s final November consumer sentiment index and five-year inflation expectations are due at 10 a.m., alongside October new home sales. All times are Eastern.

U.S. stock exchanges will be closed for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, Nov. 24, and reopen the next day only for an shortened session on Black Friday, the annual preholiday shopping event, with trading ending at 1 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 25.

Bond yields were holding steady, with that of the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
3.754%

trading around 3.747% and the 2-year
TMUBMUSD02Y,
4.533%

at 4.525%.

The spread between 2- and 10-year Treasury yields ended Tuesday’s session at minus 76 basis points, the most inverted since Oct. 5, 1981, which some say points to an inevitable recession.

Elsewhere, oil prices
CL.1,
-0.65%

were modestly higher, while natural-gas futures
NG00,
+6.08%

climbed 7% to $7.263 per million British thermal units, with European natural-gas futures also surging after Russian energy giant Gazprom threatened to cut deliveries through a key Ukraine pipeline to Europe. Markets are also waiting on news of agreement by the U.S. and its allies over a price cap on Russian oil.


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