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Futures edge higher ahead of inflation data

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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday as investors awaited a key inflation reading to gauge the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path.

After enjoying strong gains on Friday, the main stock indexes stalled on Monday as investors waited for consumer prices data to assess if the U.S. central bank was nearly done increasing borrowing costs.

The data, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), is expected to show a 3.3% rise in headline consumer prices in October from a year earlier, easing from 3.7% in September. Core prices, that exclude volatile energy and food components, is expected to remain steady at 4.1%.

“Further evidence of cooling inflationary pressures may reinforce the argument around the Fed being done with hikes, despite recent hawkish remarks from central bank officials,” Lukman Otunuga, senior market analyst at FXTM wrote in a note.

“However, if inflation prints above forecasts, this could boost speculation around the Fed raising rates in the early part of 2024.”

Traders have priced in an 86% chance the Fed will hold interest rates at 5.25%-5.50% range in December, per CME Group’s Fedwatch tool. Meanwhile, the odds of the first rate cut in June 2024 have grown recently.

That is in contrast with the recent hawkish messages from Fed officials.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week left the door open to further policy tightening should progress toward the Fed’s 2% inflation goal stall out.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr is set to testify before the Senate Banking Committee, while investors will parse comments from Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Chicago Fed chief Austan Goolsbee later in the day.

Focus is also on negotiations by U.S. lawmakers over a funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown beginning on Saturday.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to avert a government shutdown faces a key test on Tuesday, as he tries to overcome hardline opposition from his own Republican conference, even as some Democrats signal tentative support for the measure.

At 6:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis remained unchanged, S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.05%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 26.5 points, or 0.17%.

Snap Inc shares (SNAP.N) rose 4.2% premarket following news that (AMZN.O) will allow Snapchat users in the United States to buy some products listed on the ecommerce company directly from the social media app.

Home Depot (HD.N) gained 0.9% after the U.S. home improvement chain posted a smaller-than-expected decline in quarterly same-store sales.

U.S.-listed shares of China’s Tencent Music Entertainment edged up 0.3% as the company beat estimates for third-quarter revenue, helped by steady growth in paid subscriptions on its music streaming platform.

Fisker (FSR.N) slid 13.4% after the electric-vehicle startup slashed its 2023 production forecast as it struggles to ramp up deliveries, and flagged weakness in internal controls over financial reporting.

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