US stocks pointed to a firmly higher open on Friday, as Wall Street waited for a fresh read on the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge that will feed into interest-rate expectations.
Futures on the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) both gained about 0.5%. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) led the advance, up 0.7%, with all three benchmarks looking to build on Thursday’s gains.
Despite that, stocks are set for sharp losses for the month and quarter as they head into the final trading day of a brutal September. The major indices are looking at drops of 3% to 5% for the month, battered by surging oil prices and fears the Fed’s higher-for-longer rates strategy means another hike this year.
Bonds also saw some relief from those pressures on Friday, after comments from Fed officials helped soothe rate jitters. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell after hitting levels not seen in over 15 years. But while the 30-year Treasury yield retreated, it’s still on track for its biggest jump since 2009 — stoking anxiety about the impact of the bond rout.
Firmly in focus is Friday’s release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index, the Fed’s preferred inflation indicator. The August data is expected to show “core” PCE — which strips out food and energy — rose 3.9% on the year, down from 4.2% in July and moving closer to policymakers’ 2% target. A cooling could dampen expectations the Fed will hike in November.
Also still weighing on minds is the looming US government shutdown, with its promise of significant harm to the economy and stock market. It’s looking all but inevitable that lawmakers will miss the midnight Saturday deadline to avert it — especially given the lack of a clear sticking point that’s seen it called the “Seinfield” shutdown.
In individual stocks, shares of Nike (NKE) popped over 8% in premarket trading after the retailer reported first-quarter profit that topped estimates and stressed its confidence in Chinese demand.
Stock futures pop ahead of key PCE inflation data
Wall Street stocks looked set to open in the green as investors waited for the release of inflation data closely watched by the Federal Reserve, but were on track to end September and the quarter with losses.
Futures on the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.51%, while those on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) added 0.49%, or 167 points. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were up 0.67%.
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