Powell on Thursday said central bank officials “are not confident” that interest rates are yet high enough to finish the battle with inflation and would not hesitate to tighten policy further if needed.
The hawkish comments ended a strong run of gains on Wall Street which had been driven by expectations that the Fed was done with its hiking cycle after the central bank kept rates unchanged at its last meeting.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq snapped their longest winning streak in two years in the previous session.
“With markets having been remarkably jittery in the wake of Powell’s appearance, the market confidence seen of late clearly stands on relatively unstable presumptions,” said Joshua Mahony, chief market analyst at Scope Markets.
However, with inflation likely to continue its downward trend, “there is a strong chance that we see rates remain steady from here on in,” Mahony adds.
Traders have priced in an about 60% chance of a rate cut by the Fed at the June meeting, compared with expectations of a cut in May before Powell spoke, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
While this week has been light in terms of economic data, investors will get reports on consumer and producer prices as well as retail sales next week, which will further shape interest rate expectations ahead of the Fed’s December meeting.
The University of Michigan is set to issue a preliminary reading on its consumer sentiment index for November at 10 a.m. ET.
At 7:02 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 36 points, or 0.11%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.05%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 33 points, or 0.22%.
The yield on 10-year Treasury note stood at 4.6539%, extending gains from the previous session after a weaker-than-expected 30-year bond auction and Powell’s remarks.
Megacap growth stocks Alphabet, Nvidia and Tesla fell between 0.5% and 1.2% in premarket trading.
Among other stocks, gaming software maker Unity Software and hydrogen fuel-cell firm Plug Power plunged 14.9% and 32.0% respectively, on missing third-quarter revenue estimates.
Illumina shares dropped 10.5% premarket as the gene-testing company trimmed its full-year profit forecast for the second straight quarter.
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