U.S. stock market index futures rose Wednesday as Wall Street looked to build on what has been a positive start to 2023 so far. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up 51 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures advanced 0.2%, while and Nasdaq 100 gained 0.1%. The moves come after the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.01% on Tuesday to clinch its first three-day winning streak since November. The S&P 500 and Dow rose 0.70% and 0.56%, respectively, and all three averages are positive for the young year. 2023 has brought a relief rally so far for more risky areas of the market, such as tech, but many investors are still cautious ahead of earnings season and further expected rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. “I think it is going to be a challenge to try to time when the Fed will ultimately start to cut rates,” said Matthew Palazzolo, senior investment strategist at Bernstein Private Wealth Management. “There is some evidence that when rates start to decline from the Federal Reserve, better markets are ahead. But whether that ends up being in 2024 or late 2023, at least at this point in time, sitting the middle of January, it’s just too difficult a situation.” Wednesday features a light schedule for economic data, but investors will be gearing up for a key inflation report on Thursday and major bank earnings on Friday. Asia-Pacific shares traded mostly higher as investors looked ahead to the U.S. consumer price index, which would set the Federal Reserve’s trajectory in its attempt to tackle inflation after raising rates seven times in 2022. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.90% to close at 7,195.3. Its consumer price index rose 7.3% year-on-year in November, a sign that inflationary pressures have yet to slow. The Nikkei 225 traded 1.03% higher to end off at 26,446 and the Topix inched up 1.08% to 1,901.25. The Kospi edged up 0.35% to 2,359.53 even as South Korea’s unemployment rate for December rose to 3.3% compared to November’s 2.9%, marking the highest in 11 months. The Kosdaq climbed 1.97% to close at 709.77. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.51% in its final hour of trade. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite shed 0.24%, closing at 3,161.84 while the Shenzhen Component dipped 0.585 to 11,439.44. Oil prices were broadly steady on Wednesday as market participants were pulled in different directions by an unexpected build in U.S. crude and fuel inventories, global economic uncertainty and China reopening its economy. Moving in and out of negative territory, Brent crude futures were up 43 cents, or 0.5%, at $80.53 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $75.37 a barrel. Both contracts rose on Monday and Tuesday, rebounding from a sharp sell-off in the first week of 2023. Gold prices extended gains to a fourth session on Wednesday as expectations of slower U.S. rate hikes lowered Treasury yields while lifting bullion to a fresh eight-month peak. Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,885.01 per ounce, its highest level since early May. U.S. gold futures advanced 0.7% to $1,889.10. Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields eased on the day, reducing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.