Stock futures rose on Wednesday as investors assessed fresh inflation data and cheered a large merger in the energy space. Treasury yields continued to retreat from the 16-year highs reached last week. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 99 points higher, or nearly 0.3%. S&P 500 futures added about 0.2% and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.3%. The producer price index rose 0.5% for September, coming out higher than the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.3% rise. While slightly higher than what economists’ expected, the September figure still represented a slowing from the 0.7% producer prices increase in the prior month. A day earlier, the benchmark U.S. yield fell, giving stocks a boost. The 30-stock Dow had gained 0.4% on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 added 0.52% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 0.58%. “If rates continue to move lower, I think that will be the primary driver of a reasonable rebound in the equity market,” Lauren Goodwin, director of portfolio strategy at New York Life Investments, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday. “It’s also about supply and demand dynamics,” she added. “These past couple of days, we’ve had a little bit of relief from Fed narratives and also a little bit of risk mitigating type of buying. But Treasury supply is still overwhelming, we expect it to remain that way.” Earlier Wednesday, Exxon Mobil agreed to buy shale driller Pioneer Natural Resources in an all-stock transaction worth $59.5 billion, the largest merger announced on Wall Street this year. Pioneer shares were up 1.6% in early trading, while Exxon was down by about 2.8%. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting due in the afternoon will offer further insight into the central bank’s hiking cycle after it chose to skip an interest rate increase last month. Traders are also looking ahead to Thursday’s consumer price index report for September. Investors continue to assess the ongoing war unfolding between Israel and Hamas after the militant group launched an attack on Israeli civilians in what marked the deadliest offensive the country’s experienced in 50 years. President Joe Biden condemned the Hamas attacks as terrorism in remarks Tuesday and said that the United States stands with Israel. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell on Wednesday as investors assessed wholesale inflation data that came in hotter than expected. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was down by more than 6 basis points at 4.591%. Earlier in the session, the 10-year yield hit a low of 4.544%, or its lowest level since Sept. 29. The 2-year Treasury yield was slightly higher at 4.993%. Asia-Pacific markets climbed across the board, with South Korean stocks leading gains. South Korea’s Kospi closed 1.98% higher at 2,450.08, hitting a two-week high as chip giant Samsung Electronics jumped 2.71%. Samsung’s third-quarter operating profit forecast was slightly higher than analysts’ expectations. The Kosdaq was up 2.78% at 817.12. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.63% and closed at 7,085, extending gains for a fifth straight day. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6%, ending at 31,936.51 at its highest level in almost two weeks. Investors assessed the Reuters Tankan survey, which saw business morale at large Japanese firms stay largely unchanged. The Topix ended 0.19% lower at 2,307.84. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.4% in the final hour of trade, on pace to climb for a fifth straight session. Mainland Chinese markets ended higher, with the benchmark CSI 300 index up 0.28% at 3,667.55. Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday, as fears of disruption to supplies due to conflict in the Middle East receded, at least for the time being. Brent crude last fell 51 cents, or 0.58%, to $87.14 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 60 cents, or 0.70%, to $85.37. Gold prices firmed Wednesday as the dollar edged lower after several U.S. Federal Reserve officials suggested that the recent surge in Treasury yields might make further rate hikes less necessary. Spot gold was 0.60% higher at $1,871.30 per ounce after hitting its highest level since Sept. 29. U.S. gold futures last gained 0.55% to $1,885.70.
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