U.S. Stock index futures were slightly higher on Friday, suggesting that key indices may book a positive week, although trading was quiet as investors looked at comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
What are the main benchmarks?
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YMU8 + 0.16%
surged 41 points, or 0.2%, to 25,714. Futures for the S & P 500
ESU8 + 0.16%
rose 5 points to 2,862.75, up 0.2%. Futures for the Nasdaq-100
NQU8, + 0.19%
added 15 points or 0.2% to 7,439.75.
For the week, the S & P
has risen 0.2% and is on course for its second weekly rise, which hit a record this week. The Nasdaq
has risen by 0.8% on the week. The Dow
has fallen less than 0.1% this week so far, but the move implied by futures suggests he could make a modest profit. If so, this would be the second positive week for the blue chip average.
On Thursday, the big indexes ended a little lower in a quiet, low-volume trading session.
What drives the market?
The most important event on Friday will come when Powell makes a speech at the annual Fed meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Although the speech is unlikely to differ significantly in tone or message from the protocol, it could provide more clarity on what Powell sees as the biggest potential hotspots for the future of the economy.
Trading has been quiet lately, with light volumes and light daily movements, a function of the earnings season of the second quarter almost at the end and a week in which economic data received little attention. In this environment, the Fed's political and political issues have emerged as the primary focus for traders.
Powell's speech comes two days after the release of minutes from the Fed's last meeting, where the central bank gave broad support for another interest. the rate hike in September, with many officials remaining strong as long as economic data remains strong, "it would probably soon be appropriate to take another step in eliminating political adjustment."
Separately, Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said they would like to see two more rate hikes this year, and next year would probably require "several more".
The trade tensions between the US and its major trading partners are also being monitored. Reuters reported Friday that China would continue to take revenge as the US imposed tariffs, although the measures should be as targeted as possible to harm domestic and overseas companies in China.
This past week was perhaps the most notable legal issue surrounding President Donald Trump. Former lawyer Michael Cohen said Tuesday he violated Trump's campaign law, while Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump party, was found guilty of eight counts of charges.
Equities have largely ignored political news so far, but any major fallout could compound uncertainty over trade policy and the upcoming midterm elections. Trump himself said that the market would crash and that "everyone would be very poor if he were charged."
Read: Why Rising Trump Impeachment Rates Do Not Shock Stock Market Investors
What drives the market?
According to the Fed minutes, "Powell traders expect much," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets. "The continued trade with China has the potential to hurt the US economy, but we would need to see longer tariffs before we see significant changes in the respective economies."
Which stocks are in focus?  Autodesk Inc. .
late Thursday reported on the expectations and results of the second quarter.
HP Inc .
HPQ, + 0.57%
reported third quarter revenue on Thursday that failed to meet expectations, even though its adjusted earnings were above forecasts.
Intuit Inc. .
INTU, + 1.32%
said late Thursday that its chief executive officer and chief technology officer were planning to resign. The company named its successors and also reported adjusted fourth-quarter results that exceeded expectations.
S & P Dow Jones Indices on late Thursday said that Arista Networks Inc .
ANET + 1.89%
would join the S & P 500 and replace GGP Inc. .
GGP, + 0.69%
Purchased by Brookfield Property Partners LP
Providing important information for the US trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch's free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.