U.S. stock index futures pointed to further gains on Wednesday, after the indexes racked up their biggest one-day gains in five months in the prior session, fueled by rising hopes the Federal Reserve would cut rates to counter any hit from spiraling trade tensions between the United States and its partners. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday the central bank was watching the fallout from the trade war and would react “as appropriate,” adding to a dovish remarks from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard. On the trade front, Mexico will begin talks with the United States on Wednesday where officials will seek to persuade the White House that they have done enough to curb immigration and avoid looming tariffs.
The U.S. will take steps to ensure it doesn’t get cut off from the supply of rare earths used in everything from the production of computer screens to missile systems and mobile phones, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. The Commerce Department on Tuesday released a report requested by President Donald Trump in December 2017, when he asked officials to look into U.S. access to so-called rare earths, a group of 17 elements including lanthanum and terbium. “These critical minerals are often overlooked but modern life without them would be impossible,” Ross said in a statement.