Stock market today: US futures drop ahead of key inflation reading

Feb 29, 2024
  • S&P, Nasdaq, and Dow futures traded lower on Thursday ahead of the release of key economic data.
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index was set to reveal whether inflation is still cooling.
  • Stubborn price growth could delay the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first rate cut.

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Stocks were set to open in the red on Thursday as investors awaited a raft of economic data that could influence when the Federal Reserve makes its predicted first cut to interest rates this year.

Futures linked to the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were all down about 0.4%.

The 10-year Treasury yield inched upward to 4.3%, while the US Dollar Index — which tracks the buck’s value against a basket of other currencies — was down 0.1% at a little under 104 points.

Wall Street was eagerly awaiting the latest release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index to gauge whether inflation has continued to slow.

“All eyes are on the PCE prints today,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a morning note.

“The Fed’s favorite gauge of inflation, the core PCE, is expected to print the biggest jump in a year, both 3- and 6-year figures are expected to rise back above 2% after having eased below this level by the end of last year,” she continued.

“The Fed will probably cut the rates this year, yet a cut before summer won’t be on the agenda if inflation doesn’t continue to ease,” she added.

The US central bank hiked interest rates from nearly zero to north of 5% between the spring of 2022 and the summer of 2023 in a bid to bring down runaway inflation. The surge in borrowing costs has pinched consumers and pressured industries like regional banking and commercial real estate, fueling fears of a recession if rates don’t come down soon.

Thursday’s earnings slate included Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Dell Technologies, and Autodesk.

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