Futures firm ahead of key inflation report

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as focus turned to a closely watched inflation report after recent worries about a spike in prices put the S&P 500 on course for its smallest monthly gain since February.

FILE PHOTO: People are seen on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The reading on the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to have risen 0.6% in April after a 0.4% increase in March.

The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, the report could give credence to fears of an overheating economy and prompt the central bank to reconsider its accommodative monetary policy.

With the S&P 500 now hovering about 1% below its record high hit earlier this month, many big banks have warned of a pause in a year-long Wall Street rally that has been led mainly by heavyweight technology stocks including Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

Investors are also hedging against market volatility as summer approaches. Strategists expect the S&P 500 to end the year at 4,300 points, according to a Reuters poll, about 100 points above its closing price on Thursday.

Safe-haven assets such as cash and gold funds drew investors during the week to Wednesday, Bank of America’s fund flow statistics showed.

At 6:40 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 171 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 15.5 points, or 0.37%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 42.5 points, or 0.31%.

Salesforce.com Inc added 4.9% premarket after raising its full-year forecast for revenue and profit, helped by increased demand for its cloud-based software during the pandemic.

HP Inc reported quarterly revenue that beat Wall Street estimates but its shares fell 5.3% after it warned that the ongoing computer chip shortage could impact its ability to meet demand for laptops this year.

Boeing Co fell 1% after reports said it halted deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners, adding fresh delays for customers following a recent five-month delivery suspension due to production problems.

Meme stocks GameStop and AMC Entertainment jumped 4.1% and 21.8% respectively, extending gains on the back of a social media-led rally that helped double the value of AMC’s stock this week.

The U.S. stock market will remain shut on Monday for Memorial Day holiday.

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