U.S. equity futures rose slightly on Thursday ahead of consumer price data that will offer new information on the pace of inflation as the economy emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.
Futures contracts for the S&P 500 rose less than 0.1%, while contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%. The Dow Jones slipped 0.4% on Wednesday, while the larger market indicator fell 0.2%.
Contracts for the tech-focused Nasdaq-100 fell 0.3% on Thursday.
The muted moves suggest stocks could extend a period of listless trading at the opening bell. The major indices have moved in a narrow range just below historic highs in recent weeks. Investors balance optimism about the economic recovery with concerns about inflation and supply shortages, among other risks.
âAs long as we have cheap money, we have a glut of savings, not just in the West but in Asia. I think there is decent support for equities, âsaid Jane Foley, head of currency strategy at Rabobank. “I don’t think there is going to be a really serious slowdown.”
GameStop shares fell 6.8% ahead of the opening bell. The original stock and video game retailer said on Wednesday it was planning a stock offering after resetting its management team.
The data due for release at 8:30 a.m. ET could shed new light on the debate over whether a recent surge in inflation will fade or prove to be lasting. Consumer prices in the United States rose the most in April in a 12-month period since 2008, and economists expect Department of Labor data to show another sizable gain for May.
Inflation expectations have eased in recent weeks, but they remain the top concern of many fund managers. Thursday’s data will not put an end to arguments about how inflation will develop over the next few years, Ms Foley said.
âWhat’s quite astonishing given the inflation debate that has really dominated the market’s attention this year is that bond yields this week have come down so far,â she added.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed to 1.501%, from 1.489% on Wednesday, when it closed at its lowest level in more than three months. The drop in yields is due to a combination of mixed economic data, the Federal Reserve’s message that it will not withdraw stimulus measures quickly to avoid inflation, and strong investor demand for bonds. foreigners, analysts said.
Data on weekly jobless claims, seen as an indicator of layoffs, is also due to be released at 8:30 a.m. Unemployment claims have fallen in recent weeks to a new pandemic low, adding to signs of a healing labor market.
The euro fell 0.2% to $ 1.2164 ahead of a European Central Bank monetary policy decision at 7.45 am ET. Policymakers are unlikely to signal their intention to cut the bank’s bond buying program, analysts at ING Groep say.
The overseas markets were mixed. A drop in travel, leisure and real estate stocks helped keep the Stoxx Europe 600 relatively stable after the regional gauge closed at an all-time high on Wednesday.
Asian markets closed broadly higher. The Shanghai Composite Index ended the day up 0.5%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index edged up 0.3%.
Write to Joe Wallace at [email protected]
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