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U.S. Stocks May Move To The Downside As Inflation Data Looms

After ending yesterday’s lackluster session mixed, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 0.3 percent.

Traders may look to cash in on some of the recent strength in the markets ahead of the release of closely watched readings on consumer price inflation on Thursday.

The inflation readings, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, are expected to show the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 2.4 percent in January from 2.6 percent in December.

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The annual rate of growth by core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, is also expected to dip to 2.8 percent in January from 2.9 percent in December.

With Fed officials saying they need greater confidence inflation is slowing before they consider cutting interest rates, the data could have a significant impact on the outlook for rates.

Revised data released by the Commerce Department this morning showed the U.S. economy grew by slightly less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The Commerce Department said the jump by real gross domestic product in the fourth quarter was downwardly revised to 3.2 percent from the previously reported 3.3 percent. Economists had expected the surge in GDP to be unrevised.

Meanwhile, the report said the increase in consumer prices in the fourth quarter was upwardly revised to 1.8 percent from 1.7 percent, while the increase in core prices was upwardly revised to 2.1 percent from 2.0 percent.

Following the modest pullback seen during Monday’s session, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the day mixed.

While the Nasdaq climbed 59.05 points or 0.4 percent to 16,035.30 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.65 points or 0.2 percent to 5,078.18, the Dow dipped 96.82 points or 0.3 percent to 38,972.41.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled by 1.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is just below the unchanged line and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are edging down $0.09 to $78.78 a barrel after jumping $1.29 to $78.87 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $2,041.90, down $2.20 compared to the previous session’s close of $2,044.10. On Tuesday, gold rose $5.20.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 150.61 yen compared to the 150.51 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0815 compared to yesterday’s $1.0844.

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