Futures Remain Nearly Flat As Traders Shrug Off Data
Following the release of some major U.S. economic data, stock futures continue to point to a roughly flat open on Wall Street on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently up by less than a tenth of a percent following the mixed performance seen in the previous session.
Traders have seemingly shrugged off today’s slew of typically closely watched data as they continue to look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement.
The two-day Fed meeting that begins today is not likely to result in any changes to monetary policy, but the central bank could signal that it is beginning to think about scaling back its asset purchases.
The Fed announcement on Wednesday is likely to acknowledge the recent increase in inflation, which was highlighted by today’s Labor Department report showing record annual producer price growth.
The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand advanced by 0.8 in May after climbing by 0.6 percent in April. Economists had expected another 0.6 percent increase.
Excluding prices for food, energy, and trade services, core producer prices rose by 0.7 in May, matching the increase seen in the previous month. Core prices were expected to rise by 0.5 percent.
Compared to the same month a year ago, producer prices in May were up by 6.6 percent, reflecting the largest increase since 12-month data were first calculated in November 2010.
The annual rate of core producer price growth also accelerated to a record high of 5.3 percent in May from 4.6 percent in April.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing retail sales tumbled by more than expected in the month of May, although the steep drop followed a notable upward revision to the previous month’s data.
The report said retail sales plunged by 1.3 percent in May following an upwardly revised 0.9 percent increase in April.
Economists had expected retail sales to slump by 0.8 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales still slid 0.7 percent in May after coming in unchanged in April. Ex-auto sales were expected to inch up by 0.2 percent.
Just before the start of trading, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of May. Industrial production is expected to rise by 0.6 percent in May after climbing by 0.7 percent in April.
The National Association of Home Builders is also due to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of June shortly after the open. The housing market index is expected to come in unchanged at 83.
Additionally, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on business inventories in the month of April. Business inventories are expected to edge down by 0.1 percent.
Stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 still managed to reach new record closing highs. The narrower Dow climbed well off its worst levels of the day but still closed in the red.
The Nasdaq advanced 104.72 points or 0.7 percent to 14,174.14 and the S&P 500 rose 7.71 points or 0.2 percent to 4,255.15 after spending much of the day in negative territory. Meanwhile, the Dow dipped 85.85 points or 0.3 percent to 34,393.75.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.6 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.78 to $71.66 a barrel after edging down $0.03 to $70.88 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, after falling $13.70 to $1,865.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $2.20 to $1,868.10 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.10 yen compared to the 110.07 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2106 compared to yesterday’s $1.2120.
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