By Barbara Kollmeyer and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Stock futures pointed to a modest bounce for Wall Street at the open on Wednesday, with investors set to scrutinize comments by Federal Reserve members and the minutes from the central bank's most recent meeting.
Retailers are in the premarket spotlight with shares of Lowe's Cos., Target Corp. and Tiffany & Co. rising after quarterly results.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJM4) rose 37 points, or 0.2%, to 16,374, while those for the S&P 500 index (SPM4) gained 3.90 points, or 0.2%, to 1,872. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 (NDM4) added 8.50 points, or 0.2%, to 3,604.25.
Ahead of a clutch of Fed speakers, retail results are in the spotlight. On Tuesday, that sector helped drag the Dow industrials (DJI) to a triple-digit loss, after disappointing earnings from TJX Cos. (TJX) and Staples Inc. (SPLS), among others. Target, Lowe's, Williams-Sonoma are stocks to watch
Ahead of Wall Street's open, home-improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW) reported first-quarter earnings of 61 cents on sales of $13.09 billion. Earnings came in ahead of analyst expectations by one penny a share, but sales missed an average estimate of $13.89 billion. Lowe's also lifted its per-share earnings view for 2015. Shares were last up nearly 1% in premarket.
Shares of Tiffany (TIF) rose 6% premarket, after the luxury-jewelry maker reported sales and earnings that beat estimates and lifted its outlook for fiscal 2015.
Target (TGT) gained 1% premarket after it posted adjusted quarterly earnings of 70 cents a share, versus forecasts for 71 cents, on sales that roughly matched expectations. The report is getting particular scrutiny, given the retailer's weak performance over the past year. On Tuesday, the company replaced the president of its struggling Canadian business.
On the downside, PetSmart Inc. (PETM) was last down nearly 9% premarket, after it reduced its outlook as it delivered its quarterly results.
Yellen, Dudley speeches, minutes ahead
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will deliver the commencement speech at Yankee Stadium for New York University students at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The Fed chief is part of a busy Fed lineup for Wednesday.
New York Fed President William Dudley, who is a voting member of the Fed policy committee, will hold a quarterly press briefing on regional labor markets and economic conditions at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who isn't a voting member this year, will deliver a speech in Washington on the economy and banking at 12:50 p.m. Eastern Time. Voting-member Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota will speak on monetary policy and the economy at the Economic Club of Minnesota at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser added to Wall Street's Tuesday woes after he said the Fed may need to act sooner rather than later if the economy accelerates.
Investors will get a look at the minutes of the latest Fed meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, which could reveal details of when, and by how much, interest rates will be raised. The Fed continued to taper at its April 30 meeting, saying activity had "picked up recently" after a winter slowdown.
In overseas markets, European stocks made small gains as investors kept an eye on key European Parliament elections and purchasing-manager index data due later in the week. U.K.stocks fell for a third day and the British pound (GBPUSD) jumped against the dollar after the release of minutes from the Bank of England's latest meeting that were viewed as hawkish.
Asian stocks posted moderate losses across the board, with the Nikkei 225 index off 0.6% and the Bank of Japan leaving its monetary policy on hold at its latest meeting.
Gold for June delivery (GCM4) dipped, while oil for July delivery (CLN4) pared gains ahead of a report on U.S. supply data. Citigroup also raised its Brent oil forecasts for 2014 and 2015 on Wednesday.
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-Barbara Kollmeyer; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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05-21-14 0828ETCopyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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