Wall St futures edge lower as investor await data, policy cues


(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures slipped on Monday, ahead of a key inflation reading and commentary from Federal Reserve policymakers later in the week, while retailers were in focus as holiday shopping picked up steam with Cyber Monday deals.

Wall Street ended the Thanksgiving week on a positive note, with the major indexes notching up their fourth consecutive week of gains on growing optimism that the Federal Reserve was likely done hiking interest rates.

At 5:39 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 48 points, or 0.14%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.15%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 23.75 points, or 0.15%.

Data showed profit at China’s industrial firms grew at a slower pace, indicating the need for more policy support measures to help shore up growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

In the US, the investors will look out for the “Beige Book“, the Fed’s compendium of reports about the economy, on Wednesday. The personal consumption expenditure index data for October – the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – is slated to be released on Thursday.

While traders have priced in the chances of a pause in rate hikes in December, they see a nearly 50% chance of at least one 25-basis point rate cut in May 2024, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

“Usually after Thanksgiving, you tend to get some profit taking because the volumes are low,” said Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at IG Group.

“But, until the end of the year we usually have, from a seasonality point of view, quite a bullish bias in equity market.”

A rebound in equities in November has brought the S&P 500 within 1% from its highest intra-day level this year.

Retailers were also on the radar after Black Friday and as Cyber Monday kicks off with shoppers expected to purchase up to a record $12 billion.

Shares of Amazon.com and Walmart edged up 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, before the bell.

Among other stocks, Crown Castle International added 3.8% as Elliott Investment Management, a large shareholder in the wireless tower owner planned to push for changes to boost its share price, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

GE HealthCare lost 2.7% after UBS downgraded the medical devices maker to “sell” from “neutral.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)



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