Futures point to higher open for Wall St

Improved economy likely to result in rate hike

The two indexes were higher after two days of losses. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

The Fed's transcript showed that several officials expected inflation to accelerate this year but only a couple of officials were anxious about the economy growing too hot and too fast.

As John Dizard recently noted in the Financial Times: "A lot of older people and opioid addicts must rejoin the labour force and work efficiently to keep the economy ticking over without an inflationary blowout or a bond market crash".

The report was released Friday ahead of new Chairman Jerome Powell's first public outing next week, when he testifies separately before House and Senate committees.

The Cleveland Fed chief has a vote on monetary policy this year under a rotating system.

For the first quarter, HP said earnings per share came in at 48 USA cents on revenue of US$14.52bn, against analysts' expectations of 42 USA cents on US$13.49bn in revenue. The benchmark 10-year note yield initially fell from session highs after the release, but recovered to reach a fresh four-year high above 2.95 percent. The Fed raised rates three times a year ago with the last hike occurring in December.

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Hardly revelatory, yet it caused investors to wonder whether the three upcoming rate hikes they'd pencilled-in for this year might turn out to actually be four, even five.

In minutes of the Fed's December meeting, fewer policymakers had expressed such confidence.

"While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the US LEI until next month, consumers' and business' outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted", said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board. In an interview with Bloomberg (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-says-us-wages-can-rise-without-boosting-inflation-2018-02-23), Mnuchin brushed aside concerns over rising wages, saying these didn't necessarily have to trigger a rise in overall inflation. It wasn't just stock investors, either.

Kristian Rouz - Dallas FRB President Robert Kaplan says the current policy of gradual rates hikes will continue throughout this year, pointing to the projected acceleration in inflation as justification for three increases in borrowing costs by the year-end. Yellen presided at the January meeting, which occurred before the market turmoil, and the Fed left rates unchanged. The development, combined with the stimulus expected from the USA tax cuts passed in December, had raised prospects for solid growth in 2018 and further interest rate increases.

Powell's testimony arrives ahead of the Fed's key monetary-policy convention next month, but after a release of minutes for January on Wednesday rattled investors, already fretting about inflation and bond yields drifting higher.

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