Stock futures edge higher after Powell’s tough talk

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U.S. equity futures

Powell says Fed is ready to hike rates more aggressively

U.S. Stock markets look likely to start on a positive note on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank needs to move quickly to hike interest rates and normalize its monetary policy.

In remarks before the National Association of Business Economics conference on Monday, Powell said Fed policymakers must move “expeditiously” to combat inflation, adding that higher interest rate increases could be deployed, if necessary.

The Fed boss indicated that policymakers would be open to hiking rates by a comparatively aggressive 50 basis point at multiple monetary policy meetings. The central bank has not announced a 50 basis point rate hike since May 2000.

As of 5:35 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow advanced 129 points, or 0.37% to 34,565. S&P 500 futures gained 14.5 points, or 0.33% to 4,466.75 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures rose 54.5 points, or 0.38% to 14,425.

Alibaba jumps on plan to hike its stock buyback program to $25 billion

Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) shares moved higher in premarket trade Tuesday, after it said it would upsize its share buyback program from $15 billion to $25 billion.

The Chinese e-commerce giant announced the program will run for two years through March 2024. The company had announced a $10 billion stock buyback plan in December 2020 and boosted it to $15 billion in August 2021.

“The upsized share buyback underscores our confidence in Alibaba’s long-term, sustainable growth potential and value creation,” Alibaba Group’s Deputy CFO Toby Xu said.

Alibaba said that as of March 18 it had bought back 56.2 million of its U.S. shares under its previous buyback program, valued at about $9.2 billion.

Shares of Alibaba were indicated $8.37, or 8.08% to $111.96 apiece in the premarket trading session.

Nike pops on strong Q3 earnings

Shares of Nike (NYSE: NKE) were also surging early Tuesday after the company reported upbeat third-quarter earnings after markets closed on Monday.

The sneaker retailer posted earnings of 87 cents per share while revenue grew 5% year-over-year to $10.9 billion. Analysts had called for earnings of 71 cents per share on revenue of $10.63 billion.

However, revenue in Nike’s Greater China segment fell by 5% on a year-over-year basis to $2.16 billion. Meanwhile, its North America revenues jumped 9%.

Nike shares rose $7.50, or 5.76% to $137.69 each in premarket hours.

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