Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, June 30, 2023.
U.S. stock futures inched up Monday morning as investors look toward the Federal Reserve’s next policy decision.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 12 points, or 0.03%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also ticked up 0.09% and 0.16% respectively.
The broad market index and the Nasdaq both ended the previous trading week in the red, marking their second straight week of losses. The Dow managed to end the week 0.1% higher.
Investors are widely anticipating that the Fed will hold interest rates steady. However, traders will be keeping a close eye to get a better sense on the central bank’s stance on inflation from here.
“How the Fed delivers the pause is crucial for November and December rate expectations, but whether it’s presented with a dovish or hawkish tilt is what matters most for financial markets,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial.
Traders are assigning a 99% chance that the Fed stays put when it releases its rate decision on Wednesday and just a 31% probability of a hike in November, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool, which gauges pricing in the fed funds futures market.
Recent inflation data came largely in-line with economists’ expectations. While the producer price index gained more than expected, the core PPI, which excludes food and energy, matched the estimate. The core consumer price index also increased slightly higher than expected in August, rising 0.3% month-over-month, against the estimate of 0.2%.
However, Krosby believes higher prices could be ahead as the labor market remains strong. The United Auto Workers strike in Detroit could place further upward pressure on prices, according to the strategist.
“Given the UAW strike with the potential for a substantial pay package, coupled with labor’s recent successful negotiations, underpinning a broad swath of higher wages, the FOMC is faced with a likelihood of resulting higher prices,” Krosby said.
Policymakers will be looking toward more economic data releases Monday. The National Association of Home Builders will be releasing September’s Housing Market Index data. The New York Fed will also be announcing September’s Business Leaders Survey results.
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