Stock futures trimmed gains on Thursday as investors digested a crucial consumer inflation report that could factor into whether the Federal Reserve decides to raise or hold interest rates.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures rose roughly 0.1%, while S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures were flat. Tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) futures were also about flat.
Wall Street on Thursday was closely focused on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, which showed that inflation held steady in September but increased at a slightly faster pace than economists expected. Consumer prices rose 3.7% over last year in September, matching August’s increase. On a month-over-month basis, consumer prices rose 0.4%.
The major US stock indexes scored their fourth winning session in a row on Wednesday as investors shrugged off hotter-than-expected wholesale inflation data.
Minutes from the Fed’s last meeting showed most policymakers predict one more interest-rate increase this year — though they still stressed that economic data will steer their decision-making.
Read more: What a Fed rate-hike pause means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards
Eyes are also on the third-quarter earnings season, which gets going Thursday with reports from Delta (DAL) and Walgreens (WBA), then begins in earnest with big bank results Friday. Expectations are for earnings growth to be muted, but some analysts believe that low bar could deliver some surprises.
Oil prices erased their recent drop after a show of unity by Russia and Saudi Arabia, which have committed to extra cuts in crude output. But the market mood remains fragile as Israel builds up forces for an expected ground assault on Gaza. Crude oil futures (CL=F) rose to above $84 a barrel, while Brent crude futures (BZ=F) climbed to trade closer to $87.
Inflation cools slightly in September
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% over last month and 3.7% over the prior year in September, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The year-over-year increase was slightly higher than economist forecasts of a 3.6% annual jump, according to data from Bloomberg. Economists had expected a 0.3% month-over-month increase.
On a “core” basis, which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices in September climbed 4.1% over last year — a slowdown from the 4.3% annual increase seen in August, according to Bloomberg data. Monthly core prices rose 0.3%, in line with economists had projected and unchanged from the month prior.
Stock futures move higher in wait for CPI update
Stocks were poised to open in the green on Thursday, as investors looked ahead to the release of US consumer inflation data.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) were up 0.33%, or 112 points, while S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures rose 0.37%. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) were 0.34% higher.
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