U.S. stock-index futures were slightly higher early Wednesday as investors parsed results from some of the biggest banks with the first quarter reporting season beginning and JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs so far delivering earnings and revenue that were better than expectations.

Wall Street also was watching for the latest word from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later in the session as well as the Fed’s Beige Book report on business conditions.

Market participants were also awaiting the public listing of crypto platform Coinbase Global, which is coming as bitcoin prices
BTCUSD,
+1.77%
,
the world’s most prominent crypto, were heading to records.

How are stock benchmarking trading?

On Tuesday, the Dow
DJIA,
-0.20%

fell 68.13 points to end at 33,677.27, a decline of 0.2%. However, the S&P 500
SPX,
+0.33%

climbed 13.60 points, closing up 0.3%, to a record 4,141.59, its 21st of the year; The Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
+1.05%

closed rose 146.10 points, or 1.1%, finishing at 13,996.10, a mere 0.71% from its Feb. 12 record close. The Nasdaq-100 index
NDX,
+1.21%

also finished at a record on Tuesday.

What’s driving the market?

Investors are keying in on first-quarter reports from JPMorgan Chase
JPM,
-1.19%
,
Goldman Sachs Group
GS,
-1.25%

and Wells Fargo & Co.
WFC,
-2.40%

on Wednesday for evidence of the health of the country’s financial institutions and for their outlook for the economy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that expectations were high for the sector, with analysts expecting rising profits and a reduction in reserves that financial institutions have set aside for potential losses from souring loans.

Meanwhile, Powell is slated to deliver a speech at 12 p.m. Eastern at the Economic Club of Washington, where his comments could be watched for clues on the health of the economy and his view on inflation.

“Mr. Powell is likely to reiterate the message that the economic outlook has brightened substantially, that risks remain, that the Fed will base policy on data rather than expectations, and that it is likely to be ‘some time’ before sufficient substantial progress is made to warrant tapering its asset purchase program,” wrote analysts at UBS in a Wednesday research note.

Later in the session, investors may also watch for the Fed’s Beige Book report on business conditions in the Fed’s 12 districts amid the COVID pandemic.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Coinbase Global
    COIN,
    ,
    one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to go public, is set to start trading Wednesday with a reference price of $250 a share.

  • Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell in premarket trading Wednesday, after CEO Jamie Dimon noted loan demand would remain “challenged” even as the banking giant reported first-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations.

  • Dollar General CorpDG said Wednesday that it aims to hire up to 20,000 people at in-person and virtual hiring events that the discount retailer will host from April 19 through April 23.

  • Jack in the Box Inc. JACK disclosed Wednesday that it will be “separating” from Andrew Martin, who has been the fast food chain’s chief information officer since November 2016, effective May 7.

  • Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 1.6% in premarket trading Wednesday after the bank and brokerage company reported record profit and revenue that beat expectations.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
    BBBY,
    -5.32%

    stock dropped 9% in Wednesday premarket trading after the home goods retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations, but fell short on sales.

How are other assets faring?
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
    DXY,
    -0.07%
    ,
     a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.1%.

  • U.S. crude for May delivery
    CL.1,
    +1.71%

     rose 1.7% to $61.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • The 10-year Treasury note yield
    TMUBMUSD10Y,
    1.629%

     added over a single basis point to 1.63%. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

  • Gold futures finished higher, with the June contract 
    GCM21,
    -0.15%

    falling 0.2% to $1,744.30 an ounce.

  • In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index SXXP rose 0.3%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX added 0.4%.

  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP gained 0.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI closed up 1.4%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK fell 0.4%.



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