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Stock-index futures rose Wednesday, with major benchmarks set to resume a march higher after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 snapped six-day winning streaks.

Investors were awaiting data on inflation, as well as a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the state of the labor market.

What are major benchmarks doing?
  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, +0.30% rose 86 points, or 0.3%, to 31,364.
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.33% rose 13.50 points, or 0.4%, to 3,919.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.35% were up 48.25 points, or 0.4%, at 13,728.50.

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Stocks saw little movement Tuesday, with the Dow DJIA, -0.03% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.11% posting small losses to snap a six-day winning streak for both indexes, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.14% eked out a small gain to capture another record close. The small-cap Russell 2000 RUT, +0.40% outpaced its larger-cap siblings with a 0.4% gain to also post another record finish.

See: Is the stock market due for a correction in 2021? Here’s what some experts think

What’s driving the market?

Investors remain focused on prospects for another large round of aid spending, as well as a slowing pace of new COVID-19 infections and the continued vaccine rollout. At the same time, market watchers are attempting to gauge the potential for a pickup in inflation, putting Wednesday’s CPI data and Powell’s speech in the spotlight.

“Investors are already trying to pre-empt when the U.S. economy will experience the inflation overshoot that’s expected to be driven by more incoming fiscal stimulus,” said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM, in a note.

“Such conditions might trigger the much talked about Fed tapering, which may then pave the way for higher interest rates. More clues about that timeline would help global investors ascertain their allocations in equities versus bonds,” he said.

Investors were expected to pay little attention to the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, with arguments set to get under way in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon. The Senate voted Tuesday that the trial could proceed after a round of arguments over the constitutionality of trying a former president.

The trial isn’t expected to affect the market since it isn’t seen interfering with a push toward another round of spending. President Joe Biden is pushing for a $1.9 trillion package. Congressional Democrats have taken steps that would allow them to push through a spending plan without Republican support in the evenly divided Senate via a process known as budget reconciliation. The size of the plan is expected to shrink somewhat, however, due to resistance from some Democrats.

Powell is slated to deliver remarks to the Economic Club of New York at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Inflation data will be front and center, with the January consumer-price index due at 8:30 a.m. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expect the CPI to show a 0.3% rise; excluding volatile food and energy prices, core CPI is expected increase by 0.1%.

See: Economic Calendar

Data on December wholesale inventories is due at 10 a.m. Eastern. Federal budget figures for January are set for release at 2 p.m.

Which companies are in focus?
What are other markets doing?
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.169%  ticked up to 1.164%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, DXY, +0.05%  a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was fractionally higher, near 90.46
  • Oil futures gained, with the U.S. benchmark CL.1, +0.62%  climbing 0.5%, to $58.67 per barrel. Gold futures GC00, +0.16%  were also higher, up 0.2% to about $1,841.30 an ounce.
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 Europe index SXXP, +0.20%  was up 0.2%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX, +0.09% rose 0.1%.
  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +1.43%  closed 1.4% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +1.91% surged 1.9%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.19%   ticked up 0.2%.

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