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Wall St set for subdued open ahead of Nvidia results, Fed minutes

Published 2024-05-22, 06:09 a/m
© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 15, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Ankika Biswas and Lisa Pauline Mattackal

(Reuters) -Wall Street's main indexes were set for a lackluster open on Wednesday as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of AI chip leader Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)'s quarterly results and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes later in the day.

All eyes will be on whether semiconductor bellwether Nvidia's first-quarter results, due after market close, can meet sky-high expectations and sustain bumper gains recorded by the company's shares and other AI-related stocks.

Nvidia has emerged as the third-largest U.S. company by market value following a more than 92% surge in its shares this year and an over threefold jump in 2023.

"The market is looking for a new catalyst, and maybe that will be Nvidia. We've come off of a very strong earnings season, but at current levels, you could be subject to some sort of a pullback on any disappointment," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

The company's shares were up 0.1% in premarket trading, after rising more than 3% over the past two days.

Nvidia's results will test the strength of Wall Street's recent bullish run that has carried all three major indexes to record highs this month, driven by a strong earnings season as well as renewed hopes for interest-rate cuts and a so-called soft landing for the U.S. economy.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the benchmark S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs on Tuesday.

Market participants are also keenly awaiting minutes from the U.S. central bank's latest policy meeting, due at 2 p.m. ET, for more clarity on the timing of a rate cut. Several policymakers have reiterated the need to wait for more signs of easing inflation before cutting rates.

"The Fed's data-dependent over the next two months or so but I do see a little bit of a shift in terms of perhaps members warming up to a rate cut possibly in the fourth quarter or the very latter part of the third quarter," Cardillo said.

Traders see near 68% odds of the Fed cutting rates in September by at least 25 basis points, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

Home sales data for April, due at 10 a.m. ET, is also on the radar.

At 8:24 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.21%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 9.5 points, or 0.18%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.02%.

Shares of retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) dropped 8.1% on weak quarterly results and second-quarter forecasts for profit and comparable sales that were below expectations.

Off-price retailer TJX (NYSE:TJX) rose 1.4% after lifting its annual profit forecast and beating first-quarter sales estimates.

Chipmaker Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) jumped 5.5% after forecasting third-quarter revenue above expectations, while U.S.-listed shares of PDD Holdings soared 6% as the e-commerce platform operator beat first-quarter revenue estimates.

© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 15, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Apparel retailer Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) climbed 2.9% after first-quarter results surpassed expectations on strong demand.

Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) dropped 3.9% after the athletic apparel retailer announced the departure of Chief Product Officer Sun Choe.

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