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U.S. Futures Edge Higher; Ukraine Peace Talks, JOLTs Data in Focus


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By Peter Nurse — U.S. stocks are seen opening with small gains Tuesday, continuing the previous session’s positive tone helped by peace talks between Ukraine and Russia and ahead of the release of employment and consumer confidence data.

At 7:10 AM ET (1110 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 140 points, or 0.4%, S&P 500 Futures traded 17 points, or 0.4%, higher and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 45 points, or 0.3%.

The three main averages on Wall Street closed higher Monday, with the tech-based Nasdaq Composite leading the way, rising 1.3%, aided by strong gains from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), which announced plans to split shares if shareholders approve.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiating teams are meeting in Istanbul Tuesday, with the diplomats appearing to be on the verge of a breakthrough while discussing a possible ceasefire. 

A statement will be issued “in several hours,” newswires reported Mykhaylo Podolyak, an aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, as saying. Podolyak had earlier tweeted that the delegations “are working in parallel on the entire spectrum of contentious issues.”

Away from eastern Europe, the week sees the release of a lot of important U.S. economic data, including the much-watched monthly nonfarm payrolls report due out Friday. 

Ahead of that, JOLTs job openings for February and March CB consumer confidence data are due at 10 AM ET (1400 GMT), and will be studied carefully given the Federal Reserve is seen to be mulling whether to move more aggressively on interest rates at its May meeting.

Expectations of sharp interest rate increases have resulted in the 5-year Treasury yield rising above the 30-year yield, the first such inversion since 2006, prompting fears of a recession.

However, stock investors shouldn’t worry just yet, said strategists at JPMorgan Chase. “Recessions don’t typically start ahead of the curve inverting, and the lead-lag could be very substantial, as long as 2 years,” they said, in a note. “Further, over this timeframe equities tended to beat bonds handsomely.”

In the corporate sector, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) will be in the spotlight after the delivery giant announced its Chief Operating Officer, Raj Subramaniam, will take over as Chief Executive Officer with effect from June 1.

Tesla will remain in focus after the electric car manufacturer’s stock rose 8% on Monday, while Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU), Micron (NASDAQ:MU) and RH (NYSE:RH) are set to report earnings. 

Oil prices rebounded Tuesday following reports that Saudi Aramco (SE:2222), the world’s largest oil exporter, will likely boost pricing of its main crude variety to a record, suggesting a bullish outlook.

Crude prices had slumped Monday on fears that a surge in Covid-19 cases in China, and the financial hub of Shanghai in particular, will hit demand from the world’s top crude importer.

The American Petroleum Institute reports its weekly inventory data at 4:30 PM ET as usual.

By 7:10 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.4% higher at $107.40 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.6% to $111.21. Both benchmark contracts lost around 7% on Monday.

Additionally, gold futures fell 1.5% to $1,911.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.6% higher at 1.1044.

U.S. Futures Edge Higher; Ukraine Peace Talks, JOLTs Data in Focus

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