US STOCKS-Wall St gears for higher open after cool inflation data; Fed decision on tap

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 06/12/24 09:19 AM EDT

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May CPI data unexpectedly flat

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Fed policy announcement due at 2 p.m. ET

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Oracle up on double-digit FY25 revenue growth forecast

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Futures up: Dow 0.64%, S&P 0.71%, Nasdaq 0.78%

(Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET/1247 GMT)

By Lisa Pauline Mattackal and Johann M Cherian

June 12 (Reuters) -

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track to open at record highs on Wednesday after benign consumer prices data reassured investors inflation was cooling, boosting hopes for interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve later this year.

A Labor Department report showed the

Consumer Price Index

was unchanged on a monthly basis in May, when it was expected to rise 0.1%. On an annual basis, inflation rose 3.3%, lower than economists' expectation of a 3.4% increase.

CPI, excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2% compared with an expectation of a 0.3% rise, while core inflation rose 3.4% on an annual basis, versus a forecast of 3.5%.

Markets boosted expectations for a September start to rate cuts after the data, pricing in an over 70% chance, according to the CME's FedWatch tool, from 54% prior to the report.

"It certainly seems as if the trend in inflation continues to be our friend, working its way lower and taking the Street by surprise, causing futures to jump while the yield on the 10-year note slumped. So, that is going to end up working in favor of the Fed," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

The focus now turns to the Fed's policy announcement, due later in the day.

Rate-sensitive megacap stocks rose in premarket trading as Treasury yields fell, with Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet and Nvidia (NVDA) up between 0.7% and 1.8%.

Futures tracking the small-cap Russell 2000 rose 2.8%.

Apple's shares edged down 0.6% in premarket trading. The tech giant had leapt over 7% to a record high close in the previous session, helping the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 close at all-time highs, as investors cheered newly launched AI features in its devices.

With a market capitalization of $3.18 trillion as of Tuesday's close - just behind Microsoft (MSFT) - this latest spurt saw Apple firmly reclaiming its spot ahead of AI chip powerhouse Nvidia's (NVDA) $2.97 trillion, in the race to be crowned the world's most valuable company.

While Wall Street has rallied in the past few months, the bulk of its gains have been driven by megacap growth stocks and tech plays, causing some market participants to be concerned about the sustainability of equity strength.

With rates overwhelmingly expected to remain unchanged, markets will focus primarily on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's press conference and the central bank's updated Summary of Economic Projections, particularly the "dot plot", which shows where policymakers expect interest rates to stand this year and long term.

At

8:47

a.m. ET, Dow e-minis

were up 249 points, or 0.64%

, S&P 500 e-minis

were up 38 points, or 0.71%

, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis

were up 150.5 points, or 0.78%

.

Among single movers, Oracle gained 7.2% after forecasting double-digit revenue in fiscal year 2025 after the bell on Tuesday.

The U.S. listing of electric-vehicle maker Nio slipped 1.1% after a report that the European Commission will levy extra tariffs on imported Chinese EVs.

(Reporting by Lisa Mattackal and Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Pooja Desai)

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Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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