LONDON (ShareCast) – US stock futures were steady ahead of Wall Street’s open as investors gear up for Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee which kicks off Tuesday and continues on Wednesday. According to broker Atif Latif at Guardian Stockbrokers, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open higher by 10 points at 18126.84 while the S&P500 is set to open up up by two points at 2111.66.
Tuesday’s focus will be squarely on Yellen’s remarks on monetary policy to gauge if the Fed is still on track to raise short-term interest rates this summer.
“The minutes of the FOMC meeting in late January were, on the whole, slightly dovish. But since then we have learned that employment growth has been much stronger than previously believed and inflation expectations have rebounded,” said Capital Economics.
In company news, cable television operator Comcast reported better than expected fourth quarter profits, driven by strong revenue gains at its high-speed internet, advertising and business services divisions.
Meanwhile retail giant Home Depot reported a 36% rise in fourth-quarter profit and said it would buy back $ 18bn of shares, despite warning that currency headwinds will impact 2015 earnings.
On the economic agenda, markets will also be eyeing the U.S. S&P/CaseShiller home price index for December and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence for February. Capital Economics expects consumer confidence to rise further to 105.0 in February from 102.9 January.
“Rapid improvements in the labour market are providing a significant boost to real incomes and, although gasoline prices have edged higher, they remain extremely low. What’s more, equity prices have shrugged off recent volatility to reach new record highs,” added Capital Economics.
Ahead of the data, the dollar index is up 0.3% on the day at 94.87 while the two-year U.S. Treasury yields are up 1 basis point to 0.62%.