Stocks are a tad higher in early trading on a very busy day in markets and the economy.
Near 9:33 a.m. ET, the Dow was down 17 points, the S&P 500 was down one point, and the Nasdaq was up three points.
On Tuesday, stocks closed higher for a fourth straight session.
Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen begins her two-day, semi-annual testimony before Congress today. Her prepared remarks, released early, indicate that the Federal Reserve is still targeting a rate hike in 2015.
“We continue to anticipate that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when the Committee has seen further improvement in the labour market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 per cent objective over the medium term,” she said.
Following Yellen’s remarks, the dollar firmed, with its index climbing to as high as 97.18. Treasuries are lower, with the benchmark 10-year yield near 2.42%, up one basis point.
The Federal Reserve’s beige book with anecdotes of the economies in its various districts crosses today at 2 p.m. ET.
In economic data, the producer price index for final demand rose 0.4% in June, higher than the consensus forecast for 0.2%. A rebound in oil prices pushed up the gasoline index, which rose 4.3%.
Empire State manufacturing activity rebounded in July, coming in at 3.9 versus -2 in June, and 3.2 expected.
Industrial production beat forecasts in June, rising 0.3%. Capacity utilization came in at 78.4%, also beating expectations.
Greece’s parliament will hold a crucial vote today that could secure new bailout funding from European creditors on Monday. The debate starts at 10 p.m. Athens time (3 p.m. ET.) The funding comes with the condition that Greece implements strict austerity measures, including pension reforms, and opening up more areas of the economy to more competition.
In earnings, Bank of America reported nearly double profits, with earnings per share of $US0.45 on revenue of $US22.35 billion in the second quarter. The stock rose nearly 3% in premarket trading.