By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is set to speak, amid growing signs of openness to smaller rate hikes going forward this year. Brazil arrests hundreds more of Jair Bolsonaro's followers after their unsuccessful attempt to overturn last year's presidential election at the weekend. Stocks are set to open lower, with financials and chipmakers under pressure after a couple of disappointing updates from Jefferies and TSMC. And oil prices drift ahead of U.S. inventory data and the government's latest update on the oil market.
1. Powell to speak as hope for smaller rate hikes wins support
Federal Reserve Chairman gets the chance to add his support to an idea that's gaining supporters by the day: namely, that the 's next interest rate hike should be only 25 basis points.
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly told a Wall Street Journal event on Monday that there was a case for returning to the smaller steps that the Fed has preferred to use since the 2008 crisis, given signs that the overheating in the labor market is starting to cool down a little.
Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic had struck a more hawkish tone in a separate speech on Monday, saying that the fed funds rate should go to 5.25% by the second quarter and then stay there for "a long time."
Powell's speech, in a conference that also boasts appearances by the Governors of the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan as well as ECB board member Isabel Schnabel, is set for 09:00 ET (14:00 GMT).
2. Brazil widens crackdown on Bolsonarista rioters
Brazilian police detained hundreds more supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro after their attempt to storm the government district in the capital Brasília on Sunday.
More than 1,500 have now been arrested in the wake of the violence, which was the worst in the country since it returned to democratic rule in 1985. The Governor of the province of Brasília has been removed from office after failing to prevent it.
President Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva, who was inaugurated as President just over a week ago, renewed his criticism of his right-wing predecessor, who he said was still encouraging such actions on social media. The authorities have already shut down many other social media profiles that they accuse of spreading anti-democratic content.
Brazilian assets had held up relatively well on Monday on assumptions that Lula will be able to restore order relatively quickly. The index eked out a small gain, while the weakened only marginally.
3. Stocks set to open lower; Jefferies disappointment puts Wall Street in focus
U.S. stock markets are set to open lower after Monday's reversal left the main cash indices mixed on the day. Comments from the Fed's Bostic and Daly came as a reminder that the central bank isn't in a hurry to stop its tightening cycle.
By 06:25 ET, were down 99 points or 0.3%, while and were each down by around 0.2%.
Wall Street's blue bloods are likely to be in focus later after Jefferies reported a slump in dealmaking activity in the last quarter of the year which sent its stock down 2.0% in premarket. Also in focus will be Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: ), which reports fourth quarter numbers only days after warning that it may have to file for bankruptcy. Virgin Orbit (NASDAQ: ) is also under pressure after its maiden launch attempt from the U.K. failed.
Oil tanker company Frontline (NYSE: ), by contrast, is expected to open up around 20% after abandoning its contested takeover for rival Euronav (NYSE: ).
4. TSMC misses on sales, substitution fears hit other chipmakers
There's also action afoot in the chipmaking sector after Bloomberg reported that Apple (NASDAQ: ) intends to replace Broadcom's cellular modem chips with an in-house design by 2025.
The news pushed Broadcom (NASDAQ: ) to extend Monday's losses in premarket, and also raised doubts as to how far Apple could substitute inputs from other suppliers.
Separately, the world's biggest contract chip manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE: ) said fell around 2% short of expectations in the fourth quarter, hurt by – among other things – disruption to Foxconn's (TW: ) iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China in November and December.
The news added to fears that the semiconductor cycle is turning, following on from weak results out of Samsung (KS: ) last week.
5. Oil steadies ahead of STEO, API data
Crude oil prices steadied after their rally at the start of the week, supported by data showing strong fuel demand in India, which came on top of some aggressive buying signals from China, the world's biggest importer, on Monday.
By 06:40 ET, futures were up 0.6% at $75.05 a barrel, while was up 0.4% at $79.98 a barrel, finding it hard to hold above the $80 level.
Later in the session, the e will release its weekly inventory data, while the U.S. government will publish its latest . The U.S. market is overshadowed by uncertainty over how quickly and at what price the Strategic Petroleum Reserve can be refilled. So far, sellers are refusing to come down to the government's perceived bid level of around $70.