Stocks look to rebound after hawkish Fed minutes rattled traders on Wednesday

Wall Street

Fed hints at a possible rate hike in March

U.S. stock markets look likely to open slightly higher on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve publish hawkish minutes that sent Wall Street and global markets sharply lower.

The minutes of the December 14-15 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, indicated that the Fed could hike interest rates sooner than they had initially expected, potentially as soon as in March.

According to the minutes, policymakers expressed greater concern about high inflation and said the economy is approaching full employment.

As of 5:20 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures added 38 points, or 0.1% to 36,329. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 25 points, or 0.16% to 4,693.25 while S&P 500 futures were flat.

All three major U.S. stock indices lost ground on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq Composite plummeting 522.54 points, or 3.34%, to close at 15100.17, its biggest one-day loss since February last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 392.54 points, or 1.1%, to finish 36407.11, while the S&P 500 gave away 92.96 points, or 1.9%, to 4700.58.

WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS reportedly exploring possible sale of CW Network

AT&T (NYSE: T)’s WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC) Inc are exploring a possible sale of a sizable stake or all of the CW Network, which they jointly own, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal said on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter, that media giant Nexstar (NASDAQ: NXST) which owns 199 local TV stations, is a potential buyer.

There are other interested parties as well, but the talks with Nexstar are most advanced, the news outlet added.

According to the report, a deal could be reached soon, but the talks could still fall apart.

CW Network was formed in 2006 as a combination of WB and UPN. The network is home to a number of popular series including “The Vampire Diaries,” “Riverdale,” “The Flash” and “Superman & Lois.”

Crude futures jump on Kazakhstan unrest

In energy markets, crude futures were trading in the green territory early Thursday, as protests over higher fuel prices in OPEC+ oil producer Kazakhstan accelerated.

As of 5:30 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 77 cents, or 0.99% to $78.62 a barrel. Global Brent crude futures were at $81.40, up 60 cents, or 0.74% a barrel.

According to multiple media reports, protests have taken place in major cities around Kazakhstan in recent days, sparked by anger over high fuel prices.

The protests have reportedly seen the government resign, declaration of a state of emergency in some regions, and oil workers walking off the job.

The Central Asian nation currently produces roughly 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, with mega projects like ENI’s (NYSE: E) Kashagan and Chevron’s (NYSE: CVX) TCO accounting for the lion’s share of the output.