U.S. stock index futures dipped on Wednesday as a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling headed in for a pivotal vote by lawmakers. The debt ceiling debate has been an overhang for financial markets, but the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes were still set for monthly gains in May.
Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester reportedly said there was no “compelling” reason to wait before implementing another interest rate hike if economic data confirm more needs to be done to rein in inflation. “I don’t really see a compelling reason to pause, meaning wait until you get more evidence to decide what to do,” Mester said. “I would see more of a compelling case for bringing [rates] up . . . and then holding for a while until you get less uncertain about where the economy is going.”
Data showed China’s manufacturing activity fell more than expected in May, while services growth, which has been one of the few bright spots in its patchy recovery, slackened to its slowest pace in four months. For any investors hoping for a sustained bounce in Chinese growth after the elimination of stringent COVID restrictions late last year, the figures offered more evidence that the economy is losing steam, further dimming the global outlook. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell nearly 3% in Wednesday’s afternoon session, entering bear market territory on an intraday basis as it hit levels more than 20% below its January peak.
Mortgage applications in the US declined for a third consecutive week and fell 3.7% in the week ended May 26th 2023, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association data showed.
WTI crude futures fell to below $68 a barrel. Gold steadied around $1,960 an ounce while the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.65%.
Heading into the final trading day of May, the Nasdaq Composite is up nearly 6.5% for the month. The S&P 500, however, is up only about 0.9%, while the Dow has fallen 3.1%.
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