Stock market today: Futures gain ahead of final inflation data before the Fed's March meeting


  • US futures were trending up ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.

  • PPI and retail sales numbers are due later in the final batch of data before next week’s Fed meeting.

  • Brent Crude oil continued climbing after surpassing a five-week high of $84 a barrel.

US stock futures ticked higher Thursday morning as investors await the last round of inflation data before the Fed’s March meeting.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.33% shortly before 6 a.m. ET. The index lost some momentum on Wednesday but has remained near record highs. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.5% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 0.32%.

The US Dollar Index, which measures the value of the dollar against six currencies, was almost flat.

Brent crude was 0.76% higher, surpassing the $84 a barrel mark. Oil had its biggest gain in about five weeks after US stockpiles shrunk in a sign of heightened demand. Prices have also been driven up by a fresh Ukrainian drone strike on a Russian refinery this week and the ongoing Middle East conflict.

Wall Street is awaiting another batch of key inflation data on Thursday with the release of the producer price index (PPI), which measures wholesale inflation, as well as retail sales numbers.

PPI is expected to show a steady increase for the month, while retail sales, which account for nearly half of household consumption, are expected to rebound after an unexpected dip at the start of the year. The data will be the last economic indicator for analysts before the Fed’s next policy meeting starting on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s CPI data had little impact on markets, but given consumer spending is the biggest driver of the economy, better-than-expected results could encourage optimism surrounding a June interest rate cut.

Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell, warned in a morning note that the rising oil prices could renew inflationary pressures despite favorable economic data.

A higher oil price has negative implications for business and consumers and is exactly what could make central banks sit on their hands if there are knock-on effects for the cost of energy, transport, and goods,” he said.

Companies due to report first-quarter earnings later include Dollar General and Adobe.

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