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Wall Street to see mixed start with Nasdaq tipped to suffer early slump

After yesterday’s Nasdaq shake-out, the tech-heavy index is expected to open sharply lower again this morning. Spread betting quotes indicate that the Nasdaq 100, which shed 357 points yesterday, will give up around half of that points total – 175 points – to open at 13,049. The S&P 500, less weighted towards technology stocks, is expected to shed 15 points to open at around 3,862 while coincidentally the old warhorse, the Dow Jones industrial average, is tipped to also move 15 points but in an upward direction, to 31,537. The focus today will be on Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and his appearance before a Congressional committee to give his views on the economy. “Fed Chair Jerome Powell will either make or break the day for investors at his semiannual testimony before the Senate today and tomorrow,” according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote. “There is a good chance that he reiterates the Fed’s full support to the financial markets and the economy until substantial progress is made in jobs market but he will sure[ly] be questioned on the rising inflation expectations, and saying that there is no inflation just yet won’t get him out of the woods given the record jump in producer prices printed last month,” the analyst said. “So the investor mood will essentially depend on Powell’s conviction to maintain his ultra-lose monetary policy stance and the feasibility of carrying on with such a soft hand under the actual market circumstances,” Ozkardeskaya, Bitcoin prices continue to fall faster than a centre-forward brushed lightly while in the opposition penalty area, with the cryptocurrency down 16% at US$46,218. The fall was sparked by some offhand comments by Tesla Motor boss Elon Musk, who mused that cryptocurrency prices “do seem high”. He added a “lol” (laugh out loud) at the end of his Tweet, presumably in amusement at the speculators who were about to take a bath on their investments as a result of his comment. Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chairman and current Treasury Secretary, is apparently not a fan. She said in an interview published last night that using Bitcoin is “an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions, and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering”. Four things to watch for on Tuesday: Firms making a splash in the earnings calendar today include payments group Square inc (NYSE:SQ), accounting software firm Intuit Inc (NASDAQ:INTU) and property analytics specialist CoStar Group Inc (NASDAQ:CSGP) Shares in DIY retailer Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) are likely to be in focus after the company reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and also raised its dividend Cosmetics group Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL) may also be of interest after it unveiled plans to increase its stake in vegan skincare brand Deciem to 76% from 29% for US$1 billion Meanwhile, Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) has made moves in the opposite direction, announcing that it will sell its asset management unit to two private equity firms for US$2.1 billion

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