US stock futures edge higher ahead of second round of Powell’s testimony By– U.S. stock futures edged marginally higher Wednesday, steadying after new record highs ahead of more comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell .

At 06:45 ET (10:45 GMT),  traded largely flat, gained 10 points, or 0.2%, and rose 60 points, or 0.3%. 

The and the both hit fresh record highs on Tuesday, although their pace of gains appeared to be slowing substantially. Gains were also largely biased towards heavyweight technology stocks, amid persistent hype over artificial intelligence.  

Powell takes to the stage again 

Testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell saw markets largely stick to their expectations for a September interest rate cut, even as Powell did not appear to have directly telegraphed a cut. 

Speaking before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell acknowledged that the U.S. economy had cooled in recent months, and was also making progress towards the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

Powell noted that too much cooling in the labor market presented another risk to the economy, and that keeping interest rates too high for too long could present more headwinds to the economy. 

Still, the Fed Chair did not provide any direct cues on the timing of any potential interest rate cuts, and reiterated that any future decisions will remain contingent on upcoming economic data. He also reiterated the bank’s commitment to meeting its 2% inflation target. 

Powell is set to before the House on Wednesday.

The Fed Chair’s comments saw traders largely maintain bets on a September rate cut, with showing an over 72% chance for a 25 basis point cut during the month. 

Powell’s comments also put upcoming inflation data, due Thursday, squarely in focus. 

Microsoft to give up Open AI board seat – report 

In the corporate sector, a slew of major Wall Street banks are set to report on Friday, while numbers from PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:) are also scheduled before the end of the week.. 

Aside from this, Microsoft (NASDAQ:) is likely to be in the spotlight after the software giant is reportedly set to relinquish its observer seat on the OpenAI board amid increasing regulatory scrutiny over generative AI in Europe and the U.S..

Keith Dolliver, Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel, wrote to OpenAI on Tuesday, stating that while the observer seat provided valuable insights into the board’s activities without compromising its independence, it was no longer necessary, given that Microsoft had “witnessed significant progress from the newly formed board.”

Crude slips on weak Chinese data  

Crude prices fell Wednesday, adding to the previous session’s losses as weak Chinese inflation data raised concerns about the health of the second largest economy in the world.

By 06:45 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) dropped 0.1% to $81.36 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.1% to $84.55 a barrel.

Concerns over deflation in China, the world’s largest importer of crude,  weighed on the oil market Wednesday, although a bigger-than-expected draw in U.S. inventories has limited the losses. 

Data from the , released on Tuesday, showed that U.S. oil inventories fell 1.9 million barrels last week, as the summer driving season continued.

Both benchmarks lost about 3% in the previous three sessions on signs that the Texas energy industry came off relatively unscathed from Hurricane Beryl.




(Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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