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* Weekly jobless claims rise unexpectedly
* GameStop wins on stock split
* Samsung results boost chipmakers
* Futures up: Dow 0.50%, S&P 0.36%, Nasdaq 0.36% (add comment, update prices)
By Amruta Khandekar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar
July 7 (Reuters) – Major Wall Street indexes were expected to open higher on Thursday as investors weighed the outlook for monetary policy amid growing concerns about an economic slowdown following aggressive interest rate hikes to fight inflation.
Global stock markets slumped in the first half of the year amid soaring inflation, the conflict in Ukraine and the US Federal Reserve’s abandonment of the easy money policy.
U.S. stock indices ended higher on Wednesday after hovering for most of the session as minutes from the Fed’s June policy meeting showed a firm reaffirmation of the central bank’s intention to keep prices under control .
The Fed raised its key rate by three-quarters of a percentage point in June, the highest rate since 1994, with market participants anticipating a similar move in July.
However, central bank officials acknowledged the risk that rate hikes would have a “bigger than expected” impact on economic growth and said an increase of 50 or 75 basis points would likely be appropriate when policy meeting later this month.
“(The Fed meeting minutes were) a little less hawkish yesterday and that’s why you see the market starting to reallocate to stocks here,” said Dennis Dick, owner trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las. Vegas.
“If next week’s inflation data is weak, a 50 basis point hike is on the table…that’s a good thing, especially when we were talking about 75 and some Fed members were saying up ‘to a point.’
As central banks around the world aggressively raise borrowing costs, fears of a recession have grown as oil and commodity prices have also been hit in recent days.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down 19.3% and 27.4%, respectively, so far this year after enduring a turbulent first half that saw high-growth and tech stocks take a beating.
As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 156 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 14 points, or 0.36%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 43 points, or 0.36%.
Shares of GameStop Corp rose 5.6% in premarket trading as the video game retailer’s board approved a four-for-one stock split.
Intel Corp, Nvidia Corp and Qualcomm Inc rose after South Korea’s Samsung Electronics posted its best second-quarter profit since 2018, driven by strong memory chip sales.
Investors will be watching earnings reports closely, as well as economic data, including Friday’s June nonfarm payrolls report, to gauge the health of the economy.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week and demand for labor is slowing, data showed, with layoffs hitting a 16-month high in June. (Reporting by Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)