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Futures rise ahead of CPI data, Fed rate decision in focus


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday ahead of monthly consumer inflation data, while investors braced for the Federal Reserve meeting later this week.

Wall Street’s main indexes snapped a two-week winning streak last week, weighed down by fears of a potential recession next year due to extended central bank rate hikes. The Nasdaq (.IXIC) shed 4%, and S&P 500 (.SPX) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) lost 3.4% and 2.8%, respectively.

Consumer inflation data due on Tuesday is expected to show prices rose 7.3% in November on an annual basis, easing from the 7.7% rise in the previous month, while the core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is expected to have moderated to 6.1% from 6.3% in October.

The data will come on the heels of November’s slightly higher-than-expected producer price reading on Friday, amid a jump in the costs of services, but the trend is moderating, with annual inflation at the factory gate posting its smallest increase in 1-1/2 years.

The outcome for the U.S. central bank’s two-day meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, with money market participants seeing a 91% chance of a 50-basis-point rate hike to 4.25%-4.50%, with the rates peaking in May 2023 to 4.96%.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday forecast a substantial reduction in U.S. price pressure in 2023, while also acknowledging a risk of recession.

“With markets pricing two-way risk on the Fed’s hiking trajectory, we’ve seen more volatile trading in response to data points that support either narrative,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer, UBS Global Wealth Management.

“But on balance, we think there’s still far too much uncertainty for investors to assume a risk-on position just yet.”

At 6:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 73 points, or 0.22%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 11.25 points, or 0.29%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 39.25 points, or 0.34%.

Most rate-sensitive stocks including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Inc (AMZN.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) gained between 0.4% and 0.5% in premarket trading.

Biotech firm Horizon Therapeutics Plc (HZNP.O) jumped 14.1% following a buyout offer from Amgen Inc (AMGN.O), while Coupa Softwre Inc (COUP.O) surged 22.4% on a media report of Thoma Bravo LLC being in advanced talks for an acquisition.

Rivian Automotive Inc (RIVN.O) tumbled 4.3% after the company paused its partnership discussions with Mercedes-Benz Vans on electric van production in Europe.