Wall Street was set to open higher on Wednesday after economic data further supported the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future rate hikes and optimism that British lawmakers were set to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Britain’s parliament is due to vote later in the day on whether the country should leave the EU on March 29 without a deal, a scenario that business leaderswarn would bring chaos to markets globally. However, lawmakers are widely expected to reject what would be an economically disruptive move, increasing the possibility of a delay in Brexit.
“If it turns out to be a chaotic divorce then it would impact the entire globe in terms of slowing down economic growth and that is a concern,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. Domestic data showed U.S. producer prices barely rose in February, resulting in the smallest annual increase in more than 1-1/2 years, in the latest sign of benign inflation.
This comes on the heels of tame consumer price index numbers on Tuesday that also underscored the Fed’s dovish stance and pushed the S&P and Nasdaq higher. Boeing Co reversed losses to trade 1.9 per cent higher in premarket trading for the first time in three days after one of its planes crashed in Ethiopia.
Two-thirds of the company’s best-selling line of jets were grounded globally following the crash. In a bright spot, oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp rose 0.3 per cent as crude prices climbed partly due to expectations of slower-than-expected U.S. production.
At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 85 points, or 0.33 per cent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.29 per cent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 28 points, or 0.39 per cent. On the trade front, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday that the United States and China may be in the final weeks of discussions to hammer out a deal to ease their tit-for-tat tariffs dispute.
Rite Aid Corp jumped 9.8 per cent after the drug store chain operator said its chief executive officer would exit as part of a revamp of its leadership and that it would slash about 400 jobs. Other data showed new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods rose by the most in six months in January and shipments increased, pointing to strong business spending on equipment at the start of the year.
(With inputs from agencies.)