Stock futures rise as investors await key inflation report

Commuters exit a subway station on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange.

Michael Nagel | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Futures contracts pegged to major US stock indices rose during Wednesday night’s night session as investors watched a major inflation report due out Thursday.

Dow futures gained 42 points while those pegged to the S&P 500 added 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 contracts were largely unchanged.

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.

In the after-hours session, video game retailer GameStop’s shares fell 10% in expanded trading, despite the company announcing it would appoint former Amazon executive Matt Furlong as its next CEO. Investors may be dismayed at a request for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a filing with the regulator for the sale of up to 5 million additional shares.

Other topics in the recent meme trade, including clean energy fuels and clover health, also moved in the expanded session.

Investors wait for the next inflation measurement to assess whether the higher price pressures are temporary as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic-induced recession.

The Department of Labor is expected to release its consumer price index data 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.

For weeks, investors have been concerned whether a surge in inflation could cause the Federal Reserve to slow down the pace of its asset purchases or signal an interest rate hike. 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 thinking about slowing their bond purchases, possibly as soon as this fall,” he added. “That means we will continue to focus on cyclical sectors that are sensitive to the ebb and flow of the economy.”

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