Wall Street set for higher open as focus shifts to inflation data


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Raindrops hang on a sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar


By Devik Jain and Ankika Biswas

(Reuters) -U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Monday as investors positioned themselves for a crucial inflation reading this week that could determine the pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The three major U.S. stock indexes snapped a three-week losing streak on Friday, as investors took advantage of a sharp drop in stock prices that was triggered by concerns over soaring inflation and the impact of tighter monetary policy to curb it.

All eyes are on consumer prices data on Tuesday for any signs that price pressures may be easing. Headline inflation is expected to rise at an 8.1% pace over the year in August, compared with 8.5% in July.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile factors such as energy and food, is expected to increase to 6.1% from 5.9% in the previous month. A recent retreat in commodity prices, especially oil, has boosted hopes that the worst of price pressures is over.

A soft number might revive speculation the Fed will only hike by 50 basis points this month, though it would likely have to be very weak to have a real impact on the hawkish stance taken by most policymakers recently.

Money markets are pricing in an 89% chance of a third straight 75 basis point increase by the U.S. central bank on Sept. 21.

“Investors expect the CPI data to show a continued decline in inflationary reading, which would be encouraging to investors, since the FOMC meeting occurs only a week later,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“Our economists are expecting a 50-basis-point hike at the September meeting though I think the chances of a 75-bps hike are equally possible.”

At 8:29 a.m. ET, were up 25 points, or 0.08%, were up 12 points, or 0.3%, and were up 32.75 points, or 0.26%.

Also aiding sentiment, Ukrainian forces swept further across territory seized from fleeing Russian troops on Monday, as Moscow grappled with the consequences of the collapse of its occupation force in northeastern Ukraine.

“With Ukraine now putting Russia on the defense and taking over many of the territory that had been lost, that is encouraging to global investors because it implies that maybe some ceasefire will occur more quickly than earlier anticipated,” Stovall added.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:) Co jumped 6.9% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s oral treatment for adults with plaque psoriasis.

Carvana Co (NYSE:) gained 7.5% as Piper Sandler upgraded the online used-car seller’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, saying it is grossly undervalued.

Shares of U.S. chip equipment makers Lam Research Corp (NASDAQ:) and Applied Materials Inc (NASDAQ:) fell more than 1% each after a Reuters report of broadening curbs on U.S semiconductor shipments to China.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:) slipped 0.8% in premarket trading after the social media company said that it did not breach any agreement for paying a whistleblower, and that Elon Musk’s attempt to terminate his $44 billion deal was invalid.

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