Futures steady as investors brace for more economic data

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 4:37 AM

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were subdued on Wednesday as investors awaited a slew of economic data this week, including producer prices and retail sales numbers, for clues on the Federal Reserve’s rate-cut path.

The benchmark S&P 500 climbed to a fresh record high on Tuesday as Oracle shares surged and slightly hot consumer price data failed to dampen investors’ hopes of interest-rate cuts in the coming months.

Traders now see a 66% chance of the first rate cut coming in June, the CME FedWatch Tool showed. Since March 2022, the Fed has raised its policy rate by 525 basis points to the current 5.25% to 5.50% range.

“While the February CPI data was noisy across segments, we believe the U.S. economy continues to be in good shape and is heading for a soft landing,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, in a note.

On tap later this week is economic data including the February producer prices figures on Thursday, which could offer more insight into inflation in the world’s largest economy.

At 05:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis and S&P 500 e-minis remained unchanged, while Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 16.25 points, or 0.09%.

Some market participants believe the relentless U.S. stock market rally is poised for a breather, even if it remains unclear whether equities are in a bubble or a strong bull run.

Most megacap growth and technology stocks edged down in premarket trading.

AI giant Nvidia inched 0.8% up, following its 7.1% jump in the previous session.

Intel shed 1.3% after a report that the Pentagon had pulled out of a plan to spend as much as $2.5 billion on a chip grant to the company.

GE HealthCare Technologies was down 3.6% as General Electric is to cut its stake in the medical equipment firm.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)