U.S. stock index futures rose slightly Wednesday as investors turned their focus to March’s highly anticipated inflation report. Futures tied to the broader market index traded 0.1% higher. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures advanced 78 basis points, or 0.2%, while Nasdaq-100 futures were flat. The March consumer price index is slated for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones predict that CPI rose by 0.2% in March, compared to a 0.4% gain in February. The report could impact the Federal Reserve’s rate decision come May. It may also cement the case for a stop to the central bank’s rate-hiking regime. “It kind of feels like the calm before the storm,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at the Carson Group. “I mean it’s light volume, not a lot of big moves today. Traders are just kind of getting the eye on the prize, looking to that big CPI number.” Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting are also due out Wednesday, and slated to offer further clues into the mindset behind the central bank’s 25 basis point hike in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse and the turmoil that rattled the broader banking sector. Later in the week, the health of the U.S. economy and consumer will be put to the test as first-quarter earnings season kicks into full gear. Banking behemoths JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are on deck, as well as health-care giant UnitedHealth. Stocks ended Tuesday’s session mixed. The S&P 500 closed little changed, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.29% and Nasdaq Composite lost 0.43%. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors finished positive, led to the upside by a 0.9% gain in the energy sector. Information technology stocks slumped 1%, led to the downside by chip names and megacap software giant Microsoft. Markets in the Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Wednesday as investors await key U.S. inflation data that will determine the Federal Reserve’s path forward in its tightening cycle. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.57% to 28,082.7 and the Topix gained 0.76% to 2,006.92 as traders further digested Japan’s producer price index and machinery orders report. Marine transportation, wholesale, and mining led gains while banks and transportation equipment saw moderate gains. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.11% to close at 2,550.64. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.47% to 7,343.9 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.05% in its final hour of trade. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.41% to 3,327.18 and the Shenzhen Component slid 0.05% to 11,883.51. Oil prices steadied Wednesday as the market waited for U.S. inflation data later in the day that will likely influence the Federal Reserve’s policy on interest rate hikes. Brent crude gained 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $85.75 a barrel by 0917 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 10 cents, or 0.1%, to $81.63 a barrel. Gold prices firmed on Wednesday as the dollar weakened, with investors awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting minutes and inflation data for signs of how close interest rates are to peaking. Spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,008.19 per ounce by 1102 GMT. U.S. gold futures was up similarly to  $2,025.00.