By Peter Nurse
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Friday, ending the week on a negative note as investors reassess the extent of future interest rate hikes.
The main Wall Street indices closed marginally higher Thursday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending just 18 points, or 0.1%, higher, as the retail sector continued to dominate the spotlight.
Global equity funds received inflows for a second straight week in the week to Aug. 17, with data from Refinitiv Lipper showing that these funds attracted a net $3.22 billion worth of purchases, a 19% increase in inflows over the previous week.
However, following on from the minutes of the July Federal Reserve meeting indicating that Fed officials saw "little evidence" that U.S. inflation pressures were easing, a number of policymakers pushed back during Thursday’s session against bets on rate cuts next year.
The results from the retail sector have been mixed, with the likes of Walmart (NYSE: WMT ) and BJ's Wholesale (NYSE: BJ ) reporting strong sales in their grocery businesses, while others such as Target (NYSE: TGT ) and Kohl's (NYSE: KSS ) citing inflationary pressure on shoppers for disappointing numbers.
There are more earnings Friday, with Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE ) reporting a rise in quarterly profit as higher equipment demand helped the world's largest farm equipment maker to offset inflationary cost pressures.
Numbers are also expected from athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker (NYSE: FL ) as well as Newcrest Mining (TSX: NCM ) of Canada, while semiconductor equipment company Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT ) released a better-than-expected earnings report and upbeat outlook after the close Thursday.
The woes of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ) are also likely to remain of interest, with the former meme favorite stock seen over 40% lower premarket Friday a day after the billionaire investor Ryan Cohen disclosed he had sold his 9.8% stake in the struggling home goods retailer.
Oil prices fell Friday, on course for a weekly loss despite a two-day rally midweek, as concerns over a global slowdown dampening demand for crude continue to hold sway.
Data released on Wednesday showing that U.S. crude inventories fell sharply last week helped reassure traders that U.S. demand was holding up despite the high price levels, but lingering recession fears and a possible increase in output by Iran have turned the market negative.
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