U.S. index futures rose modestly in pre-market trading on Thursday, with investors’ attention focused on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s second day of testimony before the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, the market is in anticipation of the important employment and payroll report, scheduled to be released on Friday, waiting for signs that could influence future monetary policy decisions.

At 05:35, Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) rose 5 points, or 0.01%. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.13%, and Nasdaq-100 futures increased by 0.25%. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was at 4.102%.

In the commodities market, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April fell 0.77% to $78.52 per barrel. Brent crude oil for May dropped 0.78%, close to $82.31 per barrel. Iron ore traded on the Dalian exchange rose 1.83% to $123.64 per metric ton.

Asian markets had mixed closings due to concerns over U.S. sanctions and changes in Japanese monetary policy. The Chinese pharmaceutical sector was impacted by a U.S. bill, negatively affecting the Shanghai, Nikkei, and Hang Seng exchanges, but the Kospi and ASX 200 resisted the negative trend.

European markets are down today, with investors’ eyes on the upcoming European Central Bank (ECB) decision on interest rates. The ECB is expected to keep its benchmark rate at the historical level of 4.0%, with monetary policymakers emphasizing the need for further evidence that inflation is effectively being contained. There is a growing market expectation that a rate cut could be announced as early as June.

The U.S. economic agenda on Thursday starts with the release of last week’s unemployment insurance claims by the Department of Labor at 08:30 AM, followed by the publication of January’s trade balance by the Department of Commerce at the same time. The highlight is at 10:00 AM when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will make a speech before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. To close the day, at 3:00 PM, the Fed will reveal January consumer credit data, providing insights into spending behavior.

After a notable recovery, U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq advancing 0.20%, 0.51%, and 0.58%, respectively. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the possibility of lowering interest rates, bringing optimism to the market. The semiconductor sector stood out with a strong performance, reflecting the positive impact of economic outlooks and monetary policies on stock indices.

In terms of quarterly earnings, those scheduled to present financial reports before the market opens include Kroger (NYSE:KR), Burlington (NYSE:BURL), Big Lots (NYSE:BIG), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), BJ’s Wholesale (NYSE:BJ), Ciena (NYSE:CIEN), BiliBili (NASDAQ:BILI), ABM (NYSE:ABM), Paysafe (NYSE:PSFE), among others.

After the market closes, investors are awaiting results from Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO), Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST), Marvell Technologies (NASDAQ:MRVL), MongoDB (NASDAQ:MDB), DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU), Samsara (NYSE:IOT), BigBear.ai (NYSE:BBAI), Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), Gap (NYSE:GPS), Runway Growth Finance (NASDAQ:RWAY), and more.

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