Wall St set to rise on easing Evergrande concerns; Fed in focus

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes were set to rise from recent losses on Wednesday as concerns over a default by China’s Evergrande eased, with investors now awaiting policy cues from the Federal Reserve’s meeting later in the day.

FILE PHOTO: A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Evergrande’s main unit said it had negotiated a deal with bondholders to settle interest payments on a domestic bond, which helped calm fears of an imminent default that could unleash global financial chaos.

The S&P 500 has fallen for 10 of the past 12 sessions since hitting a record high, as fears of an Evergrande default exacerbated seasonally weak trends and saw investors pull out of stocks trading at lofty valuations.

Uncertainty over U.S. fiscal spending and a potential hike in corporate taxes have also chipped away at stocks this month.

Focus now turns to the Fed’s decision, due at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) where the bank could possibly unveil plans to begin scaling back its massive coronavirus-related stimulus measures.

Positive readings on retail sales and factory activity this month had strengthened expectations for a taper announcement from the central bank by as soon as September.

But weakness in the stock market had analysts questioning whether the Fed would risk further volatility, given that any concrete announcement on tapering would likely trigger more stock selling.

“The recent stock market turmoil, looming fiscal cliff and surprisingly weak August jobs report will give Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell convenient excuses to reiterate his intent to taper, but allow him to fall short of actually committing to a November start to tapering,” said Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of Quill Intelligence in Dallas, Texas.

“The Fed announcing a November start for tapering theoretically should not surprise markets. But … a firm commitment by the Fed to begin tapering purchases in early November could rattle markets.”

Commodity-linked oil and metal stocks led gains in premarket trade, while a rise in Treasury yields supported major banks. However, most sectors were nursing steep losses in recent sessions.

U.S. S&P 500 E-minis were up 22 points, or 0.51%, at 7:50 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 187 points, or 0.55%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 39 points, or 0.26%.

The Nasdaq has fallen the least among its peers this month, as investors pivoted back into big technology names that had proven resilient through the pandemic.

Among individual stocks, Fedex Corp fell 6% on posting a lower quarterly profit and the delivery firm also cut its full-year earnings forecast.

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