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Stock futures were higher shortly before the bell on Friday ahead of the highly-anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in Jackson Hole.
After having traded lower early Friday morning, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were up about 0.2% while Dow futures were up 0.3%.
Powell is scheduled to deliver remarks at 10 a.m. ET in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where central bankers from around the world gathered this week to discuss economic policy. Investors are bracing for hawkish messaging from the U.S. central bank chief on his commitment to tighten monetary conditions and temper inflation.
“At the Jackson Hole Symposium, Fed Chair Powell will be on a mission to deliver one key message: ‘raise and hold’,” EY Parthenon Chief Economist Greg Daco said in a note on Friday following a second estimate on GDP showed the U.S. economy contracted at a slightly slower rate than estimated last quarter.
Federal Reserve officials have asserted that imminent policy decisions will be guided by economic data on a meeting-by-meeting basis – and so far, many readings on economic activity have affirmed the central bank is likely to proceed with further tightening of monetary conditions.
On Friday, data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed consumer prices fell slightly last month. Headline PCE dropped 0.1% between June and July with a 4.8% decline in energy prices driving the index lower. On a year-over-year basis, headline PCE rose 6.3% in July.
Core PCE, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, rose 0.1% month-on-month in July and 4.6% from the prior year, marking the lowest annual increase since October 2021. Economists had expected core PCE would rise 4.7% against the same month last year.
On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George told Yahoo Finance in a sit-down interview that policymakers have “more work to do” on interest rate hikes, and the sharpest impacts from its recent moves have not yet been felt.
“We are trying to get back to 2% inflation as quickly as we can, without doing damage to the economy,” George said in Jackson Hole.
“So July looked like there was some easing in those price pressures, but certainly not enough that you would say, we’re in the right direction,” she added. “So I think we have more data to see. And I think we have more work to do, to begin to see that trend move down.”
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