© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks in a news conference in Washington, U.S., February 1, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell on Monday as investors await more corporate results this week and a crucial speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to assess the path of future interest rate hikes by the central bank.
Companies reporting quarterly results this week include Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:) Inc, while Tyson Foods Inc (NYSE:), Lowe’s (NYSE:) Cos Inc, Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:) and Cummins Inc (NYSE:) report results later in the day.
Halfway through the earnings of the companies, 69.6% have reported results above expectations, according to Refinitiv. Overall, analysts still expect quarterly earnings of S&P 500 firms declining 2.7%.
Last week’s stunning nonfarm payrolls report, which showed U.S. economy added jobs at a rapid pace, pulled Wall Street’s main indexes down on Friday, but for the week both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained 1.6% and 3.3%, respectively.
Job growth in the U.S. accelerated sharply in January, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 517,000 jobs, well above an estimate of 185,000. The unemployment rate hit a more than 53-1/2-year low of 3.4%.
After a bruising 2022, U.S. equities have posted strong gains in 2023 led by technology stocks amid hopes that the Fed will temper its aggressive rate hikes, which in turn could alleviate some pressure on equity valuations.
On the data front, investors will monitor jobless claims for the week ended Feb. 4 and University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey to assess the strength of the U.S. economy.
A host of Fed officials are also scheduled to speak this week, including Powell on Tuesday.
At 5:30 a.m. ET, were down 237 points, or 0.7%, were down 37 points, or 0.89%, and were down 144.25 points, or 1.14%.