U.S. stock index futures are down as hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials last week kept investors jittery as they returned after a long weekend, while a smaller-than-expected rate cut in China further dented sentiment. Fed Governor Christopher Waller warned on Friday “core inflation is not coming down like I thought it would.” Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said he was “comfortable” with further rate increases given that inflation was still not on the path back to 2%.
Markets now await comments from more Fed officials including Fed Vice Chair Michael Barr later in the day, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s semiannual monetary policy testimony to the U.S. House Financial Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
The Commerce Department is due to release its housing start and building permits data for May at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists, on average, expect housing starts for the month to come in at 1.40 million units, nearly flat with April’s 1.401 million units. Building permits, an indicator of future housing activity, rose from 1.147 million units to 1.425 million units. The Treasury is set to auction three- and six-month bills at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
WTI crude futures reached $72 per barrel. Gold held around $1,950 an ounce while the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note eased back below the 3.8% mark.
Last week, the Dow gained 1.25%, the S&P 500 jumped 2.58% and the Nasdaq Composite rallied 3.25%, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq index posting its eighth consecutive positive week.
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