Stock futures up with risk assets in favor ahead of Fed’s virtual Jackson Hole

U.S. stock futures rose Monday morning in what’s expected to be a week dominated by chatter about monetary policy as international central bankers prepare to convene virtually for the annual Jackson Hole monetary policy symposium, which features a highly anticipated Friday speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

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What are major stock indexes doing?

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.52%, S&P 500 SPX, +0.58% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.88% each retreated.

What’s driving markets

The Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole retreat kicks off on Thursday, with Powell addressing the event — now online instead of in-person — on Friday. Economists expect him to discuss the progress toward reducing the rate of bond purchases, but not formally signal a timetable.

Read: Investors look for Fed clues on tapering as Jackson Hole goes virtual because of delta variant

“Seems like an odd time to pull back accommodation. While the FOMC has yet to concede that the delta variant is putting a real dent in the economy’s trajectory, our economic activity index has flatlined for about eight weeks,” said analysts at Jefferies.

Powell’s position at the Fed seems to be in good standing. According to a Bloomberg News article, Powell’s reappointment is supported by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, with President Joe Biden expected to make a decision around Labor Day.

Uber Technologies UBER, +0.60% and Lyft LYFT, +0.35% both retreated by about 4% in premarket trade after a judge ruled a California proposition treating drivers as contractors instead of employees was unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to fully approve Pfizer Inc.’s PFE and partner BioNTech SE’BNTX COVID-19 vaccine as early as Monday.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Chevron CorpCVX is requiring some of its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and is considering whether to extend that requirement to all of its employees, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • Shares of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. MSGE rose 2% in premarket trading Monday, after the live entertainment company, whose venues include Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and The Chicago Theater, swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter loss but reported revenue that rose above expectation as capacity restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted in several U.S. markets.
  • Virgin Orbit is set to go public, as the launch and space solutions company announced Monday a merger agreement with special-purpose acquisition company NextGen Acquisition Corp. II NGCA, in a deal that values Virgin Orbit at about $3.2 billion. 
  • Shares of Trillium Therapeutics Inc. TRIL nearly tripled in premarket trading Monday, skyrocketing 189.3%, after the immuno-oncology company announced an agreement to be acquired by Pfizer in a cash deal valued $2.26 billion.
  • JD.com IncJD reported Monday second-quarter profit that fell but beat expectations, while revenue rose above forecasts, as the China-based supply chain-based technology and service provider added more than 32 million new users, a quarterly record.

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