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Stock futures rise slightly ahead of jobs data, more Powell testimony [Video]

U.S. stock futures rose early Thursday ahead of weekly jobs data and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s second day of testimony on Capitol Hill.

Futures linked to the S&P 500 rose 0.4% and Dow Jones Industrial futures rose 40 points, or just 0.1%. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.7%. In the previous trading session, all three major indices closed in the red but were little changed.

Stocks tried to hold on to this week’s gains after advancing more than 2% to start the holiday-shortened four-day trading period. Last week, the S&P 500 fell 5.8%, the most since March 2020, and marking the benchmark’s second consecutive weekly loss of more than 5%.

Fed Chairman Powell will be in the spotlight again on Thursday when he delivers remarks on monetary policy and inflation on the second day of his meeting with lawmakers.

The head of the U.S. central bank told the Senate Banking Committee in prepared comments on Wednesday that the Fed was “”to bring down inflation, slightly toning down language from last week that indicated its fight against inflation was “”.

Powell also conceded in his testimony that a recession was a “possibility” and acknowledged that a soft landing would be a “very difficult” feat in the Fed’s fight to restore price stability.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the ‘Semi-Annual Report on Monetary Policy to Congress’, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA , June 22, 2022. REUTERS / Elizabeth Frantz

“The Fed is late — it’s been late for a while,” Ryan Belanger of Claro Advisors told Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday. “They have their work cut out for them. […] the soft landing speech is kind of a myth.”

Earlier this week, BlackRock strategists warned that a recession seems all but inevitable in the Fed’s path forward, arguing that the current interest rate hike campaign is likely to dampen economic growth without necessarily solve the problem of inflation.

“The Fed is not looking for a recession, although in our view one would be needed if it wanted to bring inflation down to 2%,” the firm said.

Other Wall Street heavyweights have also stepped up recession talk, with warnings from economists at Citi, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank this week.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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