Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Busy Earnings Week

U.S. stock futures experienced a slight rise ahead of key earnings reports scheduled for the week, diverting attention from concerns about persistent inflation. Futures linked to the Nasdaq-100, S&P 500, and Dow Jones Industrial Average showed marginal gains. Trading volumes remained light due to the Presidents Day holiday, with U.S. stock and bond markets closed on Monday.

This week’s earnings reports from bellwether companies like Nvidia, Walmart, and Home Depot are expected to influence the stock market’s direction. Nvidia, in particular, has garnered attention as it recently became the third-largest U.S. company by market capitalization following a nearly 50% surge in its shares this year.

The previous week saw a pause in the stock market rally after inflation gauges indicated higher-than-expected price increases in January, prompting investors to adjust their expectations for potential interest-rate cuts this year.

Interest-rate futures on Monday suggested a roughly 38% chance that the Federal Reserve might lower rates by at least a quarter-percentage point by or before its May policy meeting, down from 85% one month ago, according to CME Group data.

Minutes from the Fed’s January meeting are scheduled for release on Wednesday, and several central bankers are expected to deliver speeches during the week. The economic calendar is relatively light, allowing corporate earnings to take center stage.

In Asian markets, several mainland China equity indexes rose, driven by gains in travel stocks after the Lunar New Year break. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.1%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 inched down but remained close to its 1989 record close.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 fluctuated between small gains and losses. In London, shares of Currys surged more than 30% after Chinese e-commerce company confirmed it was considering a cash offer to acquire the electronics retailer.

Brent crude oil prices edged down slightly to trade just above $83 a barrel. Last week, the International Energy Agency noted a loss of momentum in global oil-demand growth.