Higher open ahead for Wall Street as Fed minutes hint at more rate hikes

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Stock futures inch higher

U.S. stock markets are expected to jump at the opening bell on Thursday, as traders continue to digest the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July monetary policy meeting.

With inflation still at an uncomfortably high level, the FOMC minutes released by the Fed on Wednesday showed that the U.S. central bank remains committed to hiking its benchmark interest rate until inflation cools meaningfully.

According to the minutes, some Fed policymakers indicated that “once the policy rate had reached a sufficiently restrictive level, it likely would be appropriate to maintain that level for some time to ensure that inflation was firmly on a path back to 2%.”

The minutes also revealed that some policymakers expect the economy to expand in the second half of the year.

However, “many expected that growth in economic activity would be at a below-trend pace” because of tighter financial conditions.

By 6 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures advanced 24 points, or 0.07% to 33,987. S&P 500 futures added 5 points, or 0.12% to 4,281.75 while the tech-focused Nasdaq 100 futures gained 21 points, or 0.16% to 13,514.25.

Bed Bath & Beyond falls premarket after Ryan Cohen files to sell his entire stake

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares were under pressure in premarket trade on Thursday after activist investor Ryan Cohen revealed his intention to sell all his stake in the struggling home goods retailer.

In a Form 144 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cohen’s RC Ventures said it intends to sell all its 9.45 million shares in Bed Bath within the next 90 days.

Cohen, a favorite of the Reddit crowd that propelled GameStop (GME) stock to record highs in 2020, recently bought at least 16,000 call contracts on Bed Bath & Beyond with strikes prices between $60 and $80.

Cohen first disclosed he owned a big stake in BBBY through RC Ventures in March this year.

While many analysts believe BBBY is headed for bankruptcy, the meme stock has gained more than 300% over the past month.

BBBY rallied 11.77% to close at $23.08 on Wednesday. As of writing, the stock was marked 14.56% to $19.72 a share in the premarket trading session.

Jobless claims & home sales data eyed

On the economic data front, the U.S. Labor Department will publish its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET today.

Economists expect the report to show jobless claims to have increased to 265,000 in the week ended Aug. 13, from 262,000 in the prior week.

Traders are also awaiting data on existing home sales for July, due at 10:00 a.m. ET. Expectations are for existing home sales to have fallen to an annualized rate of 4.85 million last month, compared to 5.12 million in June.

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