Stock futures trade cautiously ahead of key inflation report

FAN Editor

U.S. equity futures are trading mixed ahead of the latest inflation-related report.

The major futures indexes suggest a small gain on the Dow when the opening bell rings.

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Investors will get closely watched U.S. inflation data on Thursday. The focus is on how it might impact ultra-low interest rates and other market-supporting policies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to say the consumer price index rose 0.4% month-over-month in May, half of April’s 0.8% spike which was the largest since June 2009.

On a year-over-year basis watch for prices to jump 4.7%. That would be the fastest annual growth in almost 13 years and up half a percentage point from April’s 4.2% rise.  If you factor out volatile food and energy costs, the core consumer price index likely rose 0.4% last month and is expected to increase 3.4% year-over-year, the biggest annual gain in 28 years.

The CPI comes shortly before a meeting next week of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, which sets policy on interest rates and other measures.

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At the same time on Thursday, the Labor Department is out with its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 370,000, down from a coronavirus pandemic low of 385,000 claims the prior week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are anticipated to drop by 169,000 to 3.602 million, tying the pandemic low in mid-May:

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%, in Hong Kong, the Hang Sengwas off 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.5%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34447.14 -152.68 -0.44%
SP500 S&P 500 4219.55 -7.71 -0.18%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13911.750324 -13.16 -0.09%

On Wednesday, a slide in banks and industrial companies nudged stocks on Wall Street to modest losses after an early gain faded in the last half-hour of trading. Stocks championed by hordes of online retail investors, the “meme” stocks as they have become known, were volatile once again.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 4,219.55, erasing its meager gain from a day earlier. The benchmark index’s modest moves this week have it on track for its first weekly loss in three weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 0.4% to 34,447.14, while the Nasdaq held up somewhat better, ending down just 0.1% at 13,911.75.

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The original “meme” stock, GameStop, said after the closing bell Wednesday that it has brought in a pair of Amazon veterans as its new chief executive and chief financial officer to aid in its much anticipated digital turnaround. The company also reported a smaller quarterly loss than a year ago as revenue increased. Its shares fell 3% in after-hours trading.

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In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude dropped 40 cents to $69.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 9 cents to $69.96 per barrel on Wednesday.

Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 40 cents to $71.82 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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