U.S. stock futures were little changed Thursday as investors looked toward new consumer inflation data for greater insight on the economy. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 78 points, or about 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.2%, while Nasdaq 100 futures rose by less than 0.1%. The consumer price index increased 0.4% on the month and 3.7% from a year ago, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday. Dow Jones estimates were 0.3% and 3.6%, respectively. The core inflation number, excluding food and energy prices, came out in line with economists’ expectations at an increase of 0.3% on the month and 4.1% on a 12-month basis. The data comes following a stronger-than-expected producer price index for September. ″[August’s] CPI print was a bit stronger than we anticipated, though the downward trend in core inflation persisted. We would hope for that to continue, [but] will be keeping a close eye on the pass-through of higher energy prices into broader inflation in the months ahead should they persist,” said Vanguard senior economist Andrew Patterson. The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has raised questions of a potential oil supply crunch and a resulting rise in fuel prices if the geopolitical instability spreads to neighboring oil producers in the region. Brent crude oil futures gained 1.6% to just above $87 a barrel. Traders will also be keeping an eye out on jobless claims numbers for the week ending Oct. 7. Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic and Boston Fed president Susan Collins will be giving remarks Thursday afternoon, which could give Wall Street more insight into the central bank’s stance. The major averages closed Wednesday trading with modest gains, marking a fourth consecutive winning session. The Dow advanced 0.2%, while the S&P 500 added 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7%, closing above its 50-day moving average for the first time since September. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was flat Thursday as investors digested a core inflation reading that came in line with expectations. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was little changed at 4.606%, off its lows from earlier in the session. The 2-year Treasury yield was last trading at 5.077% after rising by 7 basis points. Hong Kong stocks jumped nearly 2% in the last hour of trading, leading wider gains in the Asia-Pacific region as shares of big Chinese banks surged. Investors looked ahead to key U.S. consumer inflation data for clues on the trajectory of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.86%, while China’s benchmark CSI 300 ended 0.95% higher at 3,702.38. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.21% to close at 7103.1. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 ended 1.75% higher at 32,494.66, while South Korea’s Kospi finished up 1.21% at 2,479.82. Both benchmarks were at their respective highest closing levels since Sep. 25. Oil prices rose about 1% on Thursday, reversing earlier falls, on expectations that U.S. interest rates had peaked, but a lower demand growth forecast for next year from the International Energy Agency and higher U.S. inventories limited further gains. Brent futures rose $1.01, or 1.20%, to $86.83 a barrel at 0952 GMT, whileU.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 73 cents, or 0.90%, to $84.22 a barrel. Gold extended gains to a two-week high on Thursday, as the dollar and Treasury yields ticked down on the Federal Reserve’s cautious tilt in tone ahead of U.S. inflation print that could offer further rate cues. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,881 per ounce by 0951 GMT, its highest level since Sept. 27. U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,894.
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