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US stocks set to open lower after Fed says it sees ‘further gradual increases’ in rates

US stocks set to open lower after Fed says it sees ‘further gradual increases’ in rates

U.S. stock futures pointed to a negative open on Friday as investors digested the latest comments from the Federal Reserve.

As of 4:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were seen down by 79 points, indicating a negative open of -57 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also in the red.

The Fed on Thursday decided to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as was expected, but comments by the U.S. central bank suggested it was on course to continue hiking rates. Although a statement released by the institution noted a moderation in business investment, it said the bank still expects “further gradual increases” in the prime lending rate. Traders had been on edge last month due to concerns over the Fed’s rate hiking path.

Several Fed members will deliver speeches throughout the day on Friday. New York Fed President John Williams is holding a speech at 8:30 a.m. ET, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is making a speech at 8:50 a.m. ET, and Fed Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles is speaking at 9 a.m. ET.

Traders are also keeping an eye on the U.S. political situation, after midterm elections on Tuesday saw the Democratic Party regain control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010, while Republicans made gains in the Senate.

On the earnings front, media conglomerate Qurate Retail, formerly known as Liberty Interactive, will report quarterly results before the bell.

Meanwhile, in data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases Producer Price Index (PPI) figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, while consumer sentiment and wholesale trade data are expected to be released at 10 a.m. ET.

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