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Wall St set to open higher after recent slump

Kitco News

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Thursday following a recent selloff sparked by renewed fears that aggressive rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve could tip the world's largest economy into recession.

The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) has fallen for five consecutive sessions through Wednesday, while the Nasdaq (.IXIC) ended down for the fourth time in a row, largely driven by warnings from top company executives on the economic outlook.

Meanwhile, initial claims for state unemployment benefits for the week ended Dec. 3 rose to 230,000, in line with economists' expectations, the Labor Department's report on Thursday showed.

"More people are filing jobless claims, which shows labor forces are weakening a little bit," said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.

"It's just one data point that leads to the Fed cooling down their aggressive hikes, but it doesn't change December's 50 basis point (rate hike). The key is going to be the data between December and February as to what they do next."

The report follows data last Friday that showed U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in November and increased wages, spurring fears that the Fed might stick to a longer rate-hike cycle as it attempts to tame decades-high inflation.

Producer price index and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey on Friday and November's consumer price data next week will also be in focus ahead of Fed's policy decision on Dec. 14.

Investors see a 91% chance that the U.S. central bank will hike the key benchmark rate by 50 basis points to 4.25%-4.50%, with the rates peaking in May 2023 at 4.94%.

The U.S. central bank has raised its policy rate by 375 basis points this year in the fastest hikes since the 1980s.

This aggressive approach has stoked worries of a recession, with top executives of major U.S. financial institutions including JPMorgan, BlackRock and Citi forecasting a likely economic downturn in 2023.

Adding to the fears, the yield curve between the 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes has also widened in the recent days.

At 8:46 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 148 points, or 0.44%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 22.5 points, or 0.57%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 65.5 points, or 0.57%.

Most mega-cap technology and growth stocks such as Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) and Amazon.com (AMZN.O) rose between 0.5% and 1.2%.

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) dropped 1.3% following a media report on the electric carmaker's plans to shorten shifts at its Shanghai factory as soon as Monday and has delayed onboarding new staff at the plant.

Salesforce Inc (CRM.N) slipped 0.6% after Baird downgraded the software firm's stock to "neutral", while Rent the Runway Inc (RENT.O) jumped 14.0% after the clothing rental firm raised its 2022 revenue forecast.

Reporting by Shubham Batra, Ankika Biswas, Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Sriraj Kalluvila
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