US Stock Futures Slip on Consumer-Price Data – Wall Street Journal

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U.S. stock futures slipped Tuesday as data showed consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in more than three years.

Federal Reserve officials watch inflation as they consider when to next raise short-term interest rates. The next Fed meeting is scheduled for mid-June.

Futures pointed to a 0.3% opening loss for the S&P 500. Changes in futures don’t necessarily reflect market moves after the opening bell.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was nearly flat, giving up earlier gains.

Oil in the U.S. pared its earlier rise. U.S. crude oil was nearly flat at $47.70 a barrel, while Brent, the global benchmark, fell 0.7%.

Stocks have struggled for direction recently, with the S&P 500 up just 0.1% so far this month.

“We’re basically just hopping, not convinced of a big selloff or a run,” said Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management.

“A lot of people are still waiting for more clear views on where the global economy is going to go,” he said.

The consumer-price index rose 0.4% in April from the prior month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. It was the largest one-month increase since February 2013.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% rise. Overall prices rose 1.1% in April from a year ago, while prices excluding the volatile categories of food and energy jumped 2.1% on the year.

With inflation moving toward the U.S. central bank’s 2% goal and labor markets tightening, there is a “pretty strong case for a June move’’ in interest rates, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker said in an interview published Monday on The Washington Post’s website.

Investors, however, continue to pencil in little chance of a summer move. Fed-fund futures, used to place bets on central bank policy, show market participants see the likelihood of a rise in June at 11%, according to data from CME Group.

“There’s been a concerted effort to reintroduce some risk of [a rate rise in] June, but we don’t think the data will be strong enough to bear that out,” said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of currency strategy at TD Securities.

With the latest price releases, “the concern is what is driving inflation, and is it accompanied by higher wage growth?” said Mr. Rumpeltin.

In currencies, the dollar rose 0.1% against the yen to ¥109.21, while the euro was nearly flat against the dollar at $1.1312.

The British pound pared gains against the dollar to trade at $1.4466 after U.K. inflation data came in below expectations.

Greece’s Athex Composite Index rose 1.5% following news that the International Monetary Fund is pressing the eurozone to let Greece skip paying interest or principal on bailout loans until 2040, according to officials familiar with the talks.

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