AP and Reuters

Futures rise as focus shifts to inflation, jobs data


People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday ahead of key inflation and jobs data due later this week that will offer more clues on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate trajectory, while China’s measures to boost its markets provided further support.

Stocks ended a volatile session higher on Friday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole meet said the U.S. central bank may need to raise interest rates further, but also acknowledged the progress made on easing price pressures.

Focus now shifts to a report on the personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, which is set to be released on Thursday and the non-farm payrolls data due on Friday.

The readings are set to come at a time when surprising strength in the U.S. economy drove up expectations of interest rates staying higher for longer.

“While our base case is that the Fed has already reached the end of its tightening cycle, views on the Fed could continue to shift in response to data over coming weeks,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

Investors are also bracing for a potentially volatile September as the market faces key economic data reports, a Fed meeting and worries over a possible government shutdown during a month of historically muted equity performance.

Traders’ bets of a pause in tightening by the Fed were unchanged for the September meeting, while bets of a 25-basis point interest rate hike in November rose to 51% after Powell’s Jackson Hole remarks from 38% a week earlier, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

China halved the stamp duty on stock trading effective Monday, sending U.S.-listed shares of Chinese companies, including PDD Holdings (PDD.O), , Baidu and Alibaba up between 1.2% and 1.4% before the bell.

At 7:09 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 74 points, or 0.22%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.15%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 41.5 points, or 0.28%.

Among other stocks, 3M (MMM.N) jumped 5.1% premarket on a report that the conglomerate has tentatively agreed to pay more than $5.5 billion to resolve over 300,000 lawsuits claiming it sold the U.S. military defective combat earplugs.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese EV maker Xpeng rose 5% after the company said it would buy Didi’s electric car development business in a deal worth up to $744 million.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission suspended its challenge of Amgen’s (AMGN.O) $27.8 billion purchase of Horizon Therapeutics (HZNP.O). Horizon Therapeutics’ shares rose 5.2%.

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