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U.S. stock futures muted with Fed policy cues, data in focus



© Reuters. — U.S. stock index futures were broadly subdued, with a record-high rally now showing some signs of cooling in anticipation of more cues on Federal Reserve monetary policy.

had fallen 0.1% to 5,140.00 points, while were mostly unchanged at 18,331.00 points by 06:15 ET (11:15 GMT). dropped 0.2% to 39,053.0 points.

Wall Street averages had rallied to record highs on Friday on sustained support from an artificial intelligence-led rally in technology stocks, while indications of softening consumer sentiment and manufacturing activity also bolstered bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates earlier this year. 

The benchmark rose 0.8% to finish at a record close of 5,137.08 points on Friday. The tech-heavy surged 1.1% to 16,274.94 points and the rose 0.2% to 39,087.38 points. 

Powell testimony, nonfarm payrolls ahead 

Focus this week is squarely on a testimony from before a House Committee on Wednesday and a Senate panel on Thursday.

Powell is anticipated to largely reiterate the Fed’s stance that rates should be kept steady in the face of sticky inflation — a notion that has been echoed by several officials at the central bank over the past two weeks.

Still, investors will be hunting for clues regarding the timing of a first potential rate reduction this year. Markets are currently expecting the Fed to begin ratcheting down borrowing costs from more than two-decade highs in June. 

After Powell’s testimony, data is due out on Friday. The reading could offer fresh insight into the state of the labor market, a key consideration for Fed rate-setters. 

Investor group increases Macy’s takeover offer

In individual stocks, shares in Macy’s (NYSE:) jumped in premarket U.S. trading on Monday after an investor group consisting of Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital hiked its offer to take the department store chain private. 

The group is now offering $24 in cash per Macy’s share, up from its earlier offer of $21 per share, it said in a press release late on Sunday. The offer represents a 33% premium to Macy’s close on Friday, and values the chain at about $6.6 billion. Arkhouse said that the group was open to further increasing the takeover price.

Macy’s, which rejected a prior bid in November, said in a statement on Sunday that its board will review the new proposal. The offer comes after Macy’s announced a major restructuring drive that will see the firm slash costs, reduce inventory, and shutter 150 stores over the next three years.

Crypto-exposed stocks, meanwhile, drove higher prior to the opening bell in New York, fueled by a spike in the price of major token to a two-year high. Top U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase Global (NASDAQ:), as well as crypto miners Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:), Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:) and CleanSpark (NASDAQ:), all gained.

Elsewhere, crude prices had edged lower in midday European dealmaking, as support from a move by oil group OPEC+ to maintain its current pace of production cuts until the second quarter was tempered by calls from top U.S. officials for an immediate Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

Oil markets were sitting on strong gains over the past two weeks that were powered by expectations for tighter supplies this year. Optimism over an eventual decline in U.S. interest rates has also aided sentiment.

But weighing on some of the momentum was a call from U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday for Hamas to immediately accept a six-week ceasefire. She also urged Israel to offer more aid to Gaza. Her comments were some of the strongest yet made by a senior U.S. official on the ongoing war, and pointed to possible diplomatic intervention by the country in the conflict.

expiring in May dipped 0.2% to $83.38 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May fell by 0.3% to $78.86 per barrel by 06:36 ET.

Ambar Warrick contributed to this report.

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