Stock futures inch higher after Powell says bigger hikes may be needed to fight inflation

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, March 21, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Stock futures inched higher in overnight trading after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is open to higher rate hikes to combat rising inflation.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40 points. S&P 500 futures rose 0.08%, and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.

Nike shares rose 6% in extended trading on Monday after the retailer reported a beat on the top and bottom lines in the third quarter, buoyed by strong demand in North America.

The Monday trading session was volatile as Powell vowed to take “necessary steps” to curb inflation less than a week after the agency raised rates for the first time since 2018. Powell said “inflation is much too high” and added that rates could increase more than the previously approved 25 basis points if needed.

During regular trading on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 201.94 points, or 0.6%, breaking a five-day winning streak. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 finished marginally lower after rising as much as 0.4% during the session, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4% to 13,838.46 after dipping as much as 1.5% at session lows.

“I’m pretty encouraged that the market came back pretty nicely in the last hour of trading,” Ed Yardeni, Yardeni Research president and chief investment strategist, told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Monday.

“I think the market is looking for opportunities and the opportunities continue to be in areas like energy, commodities. I think the market will also find more opportunities in financials as interest rates go up and technology looks awfully cheap to me,” he added.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose again on Monday following news that the European Union is weighing a ban on Russian oil. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude both rose about 7%, settling at $112.12 and $115.62 a barrel. Amid the rally, energy stocks including Occidental Petroleum and Marathon Oil jumped 8% each.

Investors on Monday continued to watch the situation in Eastern Europe as ongoing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine failed to make progress and Ukraine refused to surrender the port city of Mariupol to Russian forces. Market watchers are also monitoring the omicron subvariant as it spreads across Europe along with one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in China since 2020.

Buzzfeed is set to report earnings before the bell on Tuesday, followed by Poshmark and Adobe after the bell.

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