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Markets

Wall St set to bounce from sell-off, Fed in focus

Wall Street was set to open higher on Tuesday, after a 2-percent fall in the prior session, boosted by some strong earni

18 Dec 2018

Wall Street was set to open higher on Tuesday, after a 2-percent fall in the prior session, boosted by some strong earnings and a bounce in certain bellwether stocks as investors wait for clues on the Federal Reserve's path for future rate hikes.

While investors have baked in a fourth rate hike for the year on Wednesday, turbulence in the stock markets and a host of other worries have fueled calls, including from President Donald Trump, for the Fed to pause its tightening cycle or risk harming the US economy.

Shares of banks, which are sensitive to interest rates, gained in premarket trading. JPMorgan Chase & Co Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America Corp rose about 1 percent.

But it remains to be seen if the market's gains hold. In what has been a turbulent month for US stocks, the market has more often than not failed to build on an uptick in early trading.

"There is a lack of confidence in any upward move and we need something tangible to bring confidence into the market," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"This has been a rather significant sell-off and before market stabilizes we need something tangible whether it's a trade-deal or whether it's something from the Fed."

At 8:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 143 points, or 0.60 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.5 points, or 0.65 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 51 points, or 0.79 percent.

The S&P 500 has tumbled 7.8 percent in December, its worst performance since 1931. (https://tmsnrt.rs/2A3z5ML)

Wall Street's three main indexes are now in correction territory, a level reached when an index closes 10 percent below its record closing high. The small-cap Russell 2000 index confirmed a bear market on Wednesday, having fallen more than 20 percent from its Aug. 31 closing high.

Helping sentiment early in the day was Oracle Corp. The business software maker rose 5.3 percent after forecasting strong current-quarter profit on growth in its cloud business.

Boeing Co gained for the first time in four days, rising 2.6 percent after increasing its dividend and share repurchase program.

Johnson & Johnson was up 0.5 percent, after falling nearly 13 percent in the past two days on a Reuters report that the company knew for decades that its Baby Powder contained cancer-causing asbestos.

Economic data was also slightly mixed. Data showed US homebuilding rebounded in November on a surge in multi-family housing projects, but construction of single-family homes hit a 1-1/2-year low, pointing to a deepening housing market weakness that could spill over to the broader economy.

Copyright Reuters, 2018