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BENGALURU: U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Thursday, supported by megacap growth stocks and banks, while focus turned to the Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole symposium for clues on the central bank's monetary policy outlook.
Wall Street snapped its three-day losing streak on Wednesday boosted by strong gains in energy stocks but closed the session off intraday highs as markets remained cautious on how the Fed plans to curb inflation amid rising concerns around slowing global growth.
"People are coming back to the market gradually with the assumption that a lot of the bad news has already been priced in," said Brian Vendig, president of MJP Wealth Advisors.
Chair Jerome Powell's speech due on Friday will be scrutinized for any indication that an economic slowdown might alter the Fed's strategy and if the central bank can achieve a "soft landing" for the economy.
"Investors are going to be really keen to hear whether or not the Fed is going to be blind to increasing interest rates and fighting inflation at the cost of economic growth," Vendig added.
Traders are seeing a slightly greater likelihood of a third 75 basis-point hike from the Fed at its policy meeting next month, compared to a smaller 50 basis-point rate hike.
Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said it was too soon to predict how much the U.S. central bank would raise interest rates next month, with key reports on inflation and the labor market still to come.
While Atlanta Fed chief Raphael Bostic said he has not decided if the central bank should increase interest rates by 50 bps or 75 bps in September, the Wall Street Journal reported.,
Investors will also be looking for details on the Fed's plans to reduce its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet, a process that started in June.
High-growth and technology stocks such as Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp rose in trading before the bell.
Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc gained 1.6% after its 3-for-1 stock split came into effect.
Meanwhile, oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp rose 0.4% each, as crude prices extended their rally on mounting supply tightness concerns.
Big banks also advanced in premarket trading, with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs up 0.6% each.
At 08:35 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 65 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 19.5 points, or 0.47%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 77.75 points, or 0.6%.were up 65 points, or 0.2%
Data showed the U.S. economy contracted at a moderate pace than initially thought in the second quarter as consumer spending blunted some of the drag from a slower pace of inventory accumulation, dispelling fears that a recession was underway.
Helped by better-than-feared results from corporate America, the S&P 500 has recovered about 13% from its bear market lows.