U.S. stock index futures got an early boost Wednesday from firmer equity markets in Europe, which were supported by better news concerning the European banking sector. Higher crude oil futures prices are also lending support to the equity futures markets.
However, testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen brought the equity futures sector of commodities futures lower, as her comments focused on weak interest income for banks.
The December contract in E-Mini S&P futures was last down .34 percent at 2,145.5. December Dow E-Mini futures were down .20 at 18,103, and E-Mini Nasdaq futures for the same contract month fell .20 percent to 4,851 on Wednesday. However, many commodities futures analysts say the trend for U.S. equity index futures is higher in the near future.
Commodities futures markets participants are closely watching Yellen’s remarks, given during her semi-annual testimony before the House Financial Services Committee about financial regulation. At this point, Yellen has said the Federal Reserve is considering stress tests requiring more capital from the country's biggest banks.
Investors will be also watching Yellen's comments closely for clues to future interest-rate hikes.
Speakers also include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans at 12:30, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester at 3:35, and Kansas City Fed President Esther George at 7:00 this evening.
Wednesday’s economic reports of relevance to the commodities futures markets included Durable Goods data for the month of August, which were unchanged compared to the prior month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, compared to economists’ forecasts of a drop of 1.5 percent. Meanwhile, core capital goods, which are used to calculate equipment spending in the government's gross domestic product measurement, fell 0.4 percent last month after being unchanged in July.
Crude Oil Inventories averaged over 16.3 million barrels per day during the week ending September 23, 2016, 253,000 barrels per day less than the previous week’s average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Refineries operated at 90.1 percent of their operable capacity last week.
Natural Gas Inventories for the same week are due tomorrow, as well as Third Estimate of the Second-Quarter GDP, as well as Weekly Jobless Claims, the August report for International Trade in Goods and Pending Home Sales. Friday brings the August Personal Income and Spending report, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for September, and the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for the same month.