Stock futures moved higher on Friday, Aug. 25, as Wall Street awaited a day full of monetary policy shoptalk coming out of Jackson Hole.
Central bankers convened in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Thursday, Aug. 24, for the highly anticipated annual Economic Policy Symposium. The event runs from Thursday to Saturday, Aug. 26, with speeches from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her European counterpart Mario Draghi, European Central Bank president, set for Friday.
Draghi will speak just two weeks before the ECB's meeting on Sept. 7, and Yellen more than three weeks from the Fed's next meeting on Sep. 19-20. Yellen will speak at the symposium at 10 a.m. ET, with Draghi taking the stage at 3 p.m.
Investors will comb through the speeches for any hawkish commentary. Yellen's language, in particular, will be analyzed to determine whether September is a go for the Fed to begin unwinding its balance sheet. The Fed had previously said it would implement that move "relatively soon" should the economy continue to grow at the pace expected. Unloading mortgage-backed securities and other assets would likely tighten monetary conditions in the same way an interest-rate hike would. Another rate increase isn't expected until December at the earliest.
Crude oil prices were rising as Hurricane Harvey barreled toward the Texas coastline. The hurricane is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday near Corpus Christi, Texas Forecasters have labeled Harvey a "life threatening" storm and predicted as much as 30 inches of rain in some Texas cities along the Gulf coast.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.44% to $47.64 a barrel on Friday morning.
Investors also will be looking toward a weekly reading on drilling activity from Baker Hughes on Friday afternoon. The total active U.S. rig count declined by 3 to 946 in the previous week. Overproduction and a supply glut has been a problem in the U.S., though signs of falling output and stockpiles in recent weeks has stabilized prices.
On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A - Get Report) shut down its Perdido floating oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Get Report) reduced production flow to its Gulf platforms in preparation for Harvey. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) has pulled some workers from its Gulf refineries, as well.
Generator manufacturer Generac Holdings Inc (GNRC - Get Report) shares finished up 4.2% Thursday on speculation people would run out to buy generators. Home product retailers Home Depot Inc. (HD - Get Report) and Lowe's Cos. (LOW - Get Report) shares are also in focus. Lowe's has more than 140 stores in Texas, while Home Depot weighs in with nearly 180.
U.S. durable goods orders in the U.S. for July fell 6.8%, a wider-than-expected decrease compared to the 5.8% decline economists surveyed by FactSet anticipated. July's decrease reversed the 6.4% rise in durable goods orders in June.
Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO - Get Report) stock fell 1.1% premarket Friday after the company reported an earnings beat but cut full-year guidance. For the quarter, adjusted revenue of $4.47 billion was in line with consensus of $4.46 billion, while adjusted EPS of $4.10 topped the consensus of $4.03.
Analysts expected management would raise guidance based on increased revenue due to the company's chip production in the upcoming Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone 8. But guidance was in line with consensus expectations. The company expects non-GAAP net revenue to fall around $4.8 billion next quarter.
How about that new Apple Watch.
GameStop Corp. (GME - Get Report) tumbled over 7.6% in premarket trading Friday after the retailer missed second quarter earnings estimates. The company reported adjusted EPS of 15 cents, missing the analyst expectation of 18 cents. Sales rose 7% to $188.3 million, but fell short of analysts' projected $207.6 million in sales.
Ulta Beauty Inc. (ULTA - Get Report) stock fell over 6% premarket Friday despite beating Wall Street estimates in its second quarter financials released after the closing bell on Thursday. Ulta reported earnings of $1.83 per share, topping estimates of $1.78. But revenue of $1.29 billion just barely beat analysts' expectation of $1.28 billion, causing shares to tumble.
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