Commuters exit a subway station on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange.
Michael Nagel | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Futures contracts, which are pegged to major U.S. stock indices, were unchanged on Thursday as investors watched a major upcoming inflation report.
Dow futures rose about 48 points while those pegged to the S&P 500 were just below the flat line. Nasdaq 100 contracts lost 0.3%.
UPS stock rose roughly 1% in pre-trading hours after upgrading JPMorgan. The shares of Boeing and Delta Air Lines also gained in the pre-market trading.
Tesla and Apple stocks declined slightly in early trading.
Monthly consumer price index data will be released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect the CPI report from May to show a price increase of 4.7% year-over-year after a rise of 4.2% in April. Core inflation excluding food and energy is expected to increase by 3.5% on an annual basis, the largest increase in 28 years.
Fears of a surge in inflation weighed on the stock market for the last month, with investors worried that the rise in prices will add costs to businesses, spark interest rates, and cause the Federal Reserve to abandon its easy money policy.
US markets continued to trade within a tight range on Wednesday, with all three major indices ending the day within 0.5% of Tuesday’s closing prices. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell during regular trading, ending the session further away from their respective all-time highs.
The S&P 500 remains closest to its benchmark and is only 0.44% away from a new all-time high. The Dow and Nasdaq are about 2% off the records.
Video game retailer and meme stock GameStop fell 7% in pre-trading hours, even after the company named former Amazon executive Matt Furlong as its next CEO and said sales rose 25% in the most recent quarter. The company also said it can sell up to 5 million additional shares.
Investors are trying to gauge whether the increased price pressures will be temporary as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic-induced recession.
For weeks, investors have been concerned whether a spike in inflation could cause the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of its asset purchases. However, some say these fears are premature and that the central bank will give the markets plenty of time before taking action.
“We believe the Fed’s monetary policy will continue for some time,” wrote Scott Wren, senior global markets strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
“We don’t expect the Fed to hike rates this year or next, but we think it is likely that our central bankers will begin to hint that they are considering slowing their bond purchases, possibly later this fall,” he added. “That means we will continue to focus on cyclical sectors that are sensitive to the ups and downs of the economy.”