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Futures rise ahead of data, speeches from Fed officials

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday with focus on speeches from Federal Reserve officials, after economic data this week supported bets of U.S. interest rate cuts and lifted investor sentiment.

Wall Street indexes were back in sight of record highs following a selloff last month, as a slew of economic data pointed to cooling labor market momentum, raising expectations that the Fed will cut borrowing costs more than once this year.

Traders are currently pricing in 46 basis points of rate cuts by the end of 2024, according to LSEG’s rate probabilities tool, with the first cut of 25 bps seen in September.

Expectations of U.S. monetary policy easing, along with a much better-than-expected earnings season put the benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite on track for their third consecutive week of gains.

The blue-chip Dow, currently on its longest daily winning run since December, was set for a fourth week of gains.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary survey of consumer sentiment for May is due at 10 a.m. ET.

Investors will also focus on speeches from a host of Fed policymakers — Governor Michelle Bowman, Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari, Dallas President Lorie Logan and Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr — during the day.

While most Fed policymakers have reiterated that the next policy move will be a rate cut, doubt still remains about when the easing will begin.

There is “considerable” uncertainty about where U.S. inflation will head in coming months, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said on Thursday.

By 5:57 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were up 20.25 points, or 0.39%. Nasdaq 100 e-minis climbed 86.25 points, or 0.47%, and Dow e-minis added 116 points, or 0.29%.

Nvidia gained 1.4% in premarket trading after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest chipmaker and a major supplier to Nvidia, reported a near 60% jump in April sales.

Akamai Technologies fell 10.6% after it forecast second-quarter revenue and profit below Wall Street estimates, anticipating weak demand for its content delivery services.

SoundHound AI, whose technology allows humans to interact conversationally with products such as phones and cars, jumped 16.4% after its first-quarter revenue beat market estimates.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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