Stock futures inch higher ahead of big inflation report

U.S. stock futures inched higher in overnight trading as investors braced for a key inflation report Tuesday.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 40 points or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures rose marginally higher.

The overnight moves come as investors await the release of March’s highly anticipated consumer price index on Tuesday. The data is expected to show an 8.4% annual increase in prices — the highest level since December 1981 — according to economists polled by Dow Jones, with rising food costs, rents and energy prices expected as the main contributors to the spike.

“I think by the summer we’ll probably see the CPI inflation rate peaking and then the consumption deflator is going to peak somewhere between 6 and 7% and then come down to maybe 3 to 4% by the second half of the year going into next year,” Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Monday.

During regular trading on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 413.04 points, or 1.19%, to 34,308.08, while the S&P 500 dropped 1.69% to 4,412.53. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite sank 2.18% to 13,411.96.

All 11 sectors ended the day in the red, with technology facing the brunt of the losses as investors continued to search for stability. Microsoft fell nearly 4%, while semiconductor Nvidia dropped more than 5%.

Energy companies including ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum also fell as oil prices declined on fears that lockdowns in China could hit demand. Oil prices have fluctuated in recent weeks amid the war in Ukraine, and WTI settled down 4.04% to $94.29 on Monday while Brent fell 4.18% to $98.48.

Meanwhile, shares of AT&T rose more than 7% after closing its WarnerMedia spinoff. Airline stocks including Delta Air Lines and Southwest also ended the day in the positive.

The 10-year Treasury yield topped 2.79%, its highest level since January 2019.  

Along with March CPI, investors are awaiting the start of earnings season set to kick off Wednesday with JPMorgan and Delta Air Lines, followed by several big banks on Thursday.

Sophie Tremblay

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