U.S. stock market index futures slipped Wednesday following the release of January’s hotter-than-anticipated consumer price index. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 122 points, or 0.36%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell by 0.43% and 0.44%, respectively. The Dow fell during the trading session and closed lower by more than 156 points. The S&P 500 remained relatively flat, dropping 0.03%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shook off earlier losses to close 0.57% higher. Inflation data for January came slightly above economists’ estimates, indicating a potentially longer path in the Federal Reserve’s fight against rising prices. The consumer price index increased by 0.5% for the month and 6.4% from the prior year, compared to estimates of 0.4% monthly and 6.2% annually, according to Dow Jones’ survey of economists. Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, noted that while inflation remains above the Fed’s target rate of 2%, the higher-than-expected numbers weren’t entirely surprising. “The inflation came in with expectations, and I think that’s why the market took it in stride,” he said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” Commenting on the monthly uptick in inflation data, Yardeni added, “I think we’re going to have some bumps along the road. But all in all, I think we are certainly seeing strong disinflation.” However, he added that despite anticipating a soft landing for the economy, he doesn’t expect the Fed to cut interest rates this year. Biogen and Kraft Heinz will be reporting their quarterly earnings on Wednesday before the bell. Investors will also be looking toward the latest retail sales data to gauge consumer demand. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, industrial production and business inventories data will be released on Wednesday morning. Asia Pacific markets traded lower on Wednesday after the release of U.S. inflation data that came in hotter-than-expected. It further raised expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates to curb inflation. The Kospi in South Korea led losses as it fell 1.53% to 2427.9, and the Kosdaq slid 1.81% to 765.26 as investors digested the nation’s unemployment rate. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 1.65% in its final hour of trade, and the Hang Seng Tech index slid 1.13%. In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component fell 0.253% to 12,064.38 and the Shanghai Composite shed 0.39% to 3,280.49. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.06% to close at 7352.2, as financials saw sharp losses after Reserve Bank of Australia’s governor Philip Lowe reiterated that inflation remains “too high.” Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.37% lower at 27,501.86 and the Topix dropped 0.27% to end the day at 1987.74. Oil dropped for a second day on Wednesday, as an industry report pointed to ample supplies in the United States and anticipation of further interest rate hikes sparked concerns over weaker fuel demand and the economic outlook. U.S. crude stocks rose by a more-than-forecast 10.5 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute (API) figures, ahead of official Energy Information Administration (EIA) data out at 1530 GMT. “Simply put, the U.S. is swimming in oil,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM. Brent crude futures slid 81 cents, or 0.9%, to $84.78 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped 90 cents, or 1.1% to $78.16. Gold prices fell on Wednesday as the dollar firmed after data showed U.S. inflation rose last month at its slowest pace since late 2021, reinforcing investor concerns that the Federal Reserve would persist with monetary policy tightening. Spot gold was down 1% at $1,835.80 per ounce after falling to its lowest since early January on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures fell 1% to $1,846.40.
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