Futures flat after record close for S&P 500, Nasdaq

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were steady on Wednesday after another record close for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while investors watched progress in the government’s multi-trillion-dollar investment plans.

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Department store operator Nordstrom Inc was a notable mover premarket, sliding 11.4%, after quarterly revenue declined 6% from pre-pandemic levels and the company flagged supply chain issues and stiff competition.

Major Wall Street lenders were mixed, while industrials including Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co inched up about 0.3% after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a $3.5 trillion budget framework and agreed to vote by Sept. 27 on a $1 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure bill.

The S&P 500 posted its 50th record high close of this year on Tuesday as positive news on COVID-19 vaccines raised hopes of a swift economic recovery after mixed data recently.

Focus is now on the Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium at Jackson Hole on Friday for views on when the central bank will start tapering its massive asset purchases program.

“The market’s interpretation of the eventual announcement is much more likely to be dictated by how slowly purchases are unwound, not whether they begin in November or December,” said Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

“Equity markets continue to cheer the amount of liquidity in the system, but the Fed will not be blind to the longer-term risks of policy that is too supportive for too long.”

Meanwhile, Reuters calculations showed that global corporate profits in the third quarter are likely to fall for the first time in 18 months after record earnings in April-June.

At 7:11 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.04%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.75 points, or 0.02%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01%.

A Commerce Department report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show durable goods fell 0.3% in July after rising 0.9% in June.

Shares of several retail trading darlings, including GameStop, AMC Entertainment and Koss Corp, rose between 1.4% and 4.8%, a day after dealing over $1 billion in losses to short sellers in late heavy volume trading on no apparent news.

Campbell Soup Co fell 1.2% after Piper Sandler downgraded the Prego pasta sauce maker’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”.

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