Tuesday February 27th


US stocks are set for a flat open ahead of Fed Chair Powell's testimony

U.S. stock index futures fluctuated ahead of Tuesday's open, showing signs of pulling back from the previous session's highs. Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow futures were off indicated a rise of about 5 points at the open. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures also pointed to a relatively flat to positive open for their respective markets. In the previous trading session, stocks on Wall Street finished on a positive note, with the Dow Jones industrial average almost closing up 400 points Monday, as anxiety surrounding higher interest rates subsided somewhat. Looking to Tuesday's session, earnings, data and news from the U.S central bank are due to shake up sentiment. On the data front, durable goods and advanced economic indicators come out at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index and the FHFA House Price Index, both due at 9 a.m. ET. Shortly after that, consumer confidence comes out at 10 a.m. ET as well as the Richmond Fed manufacturing activity survey, while the Dallas Fed's Texas Service Sector Outlook Survey comes out at 10:30 a.m. ET. In corporate news, AutoZone, Discovery Communications, Macy's, Toll Brothers, Camping World, SeaWorld, Steve Madden, Express Scripts, Square, Etsy, Hertz Global, Imax and Weight Watchers are all reporting their latest financial figures. Looking to the central banking space, recently appointed chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell is set to address Congress on Tuesday morning, where the former Fed governor is set to shed some light on the current state of the U.S. economy, and monetary policy. Market watchers will be looking at the testimony closely to see if the Fed chair provides any hints on future policy. Whether Powell will say anything to ease sentiment is yet to be seen, however this will be a testimony worth watching for markets in the U.S. and overseas. Looking at markets overseas, both stocks in Europe and Asia were mixed or came under slight pressure on Tuesday. Mainland stocks closed lower after recording sharp gains in the last session, although small caps bucked the trend. The benchmark Shanghai composite lost 1.14 percent to close at 3,291.53 while the Shenzhen composite shed 0.34 percent. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gave up gains as mainland China markets slipped into negative territory. By 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN, the Hang Seng was lower by 0.41 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 236.23 points, or 1.07 percent, to close at 22,389.86, extending a 1.19 percent gain seen in the last trading session. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi reversed early gains to close off by 0.06 percent at 2,456.14. Oil edged lower on Tuesday ahead of weekly data that is forecast to show a rise in U.S. crude inventories, although investor faith in OPEC's ability to curtail production helped stem a larger price slide. Brent crude futures were down 10 cents at $67.40 a barrel by 1043 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude eased 17 cents to $63.74. Gold prices held their ground on Tuesday as nervous investors awaited testimony from the new chair of the U.S. central bank, but an analyst warned bullion was vulnerable to profit taking. Spot gold was unchanged at $1,333.15 an ounce at 0950 GMT. U.S. gold futures added 0.2 percent to $1,335 per ounce.