Personal Finance

US futures dip with inflation data in focus

US stock futures slipped into the red on Friday, ahead of an inflation reading that could put hopes for interest-rate cuts and the record-setting market rally to the test.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures fell 0.3%, while S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures hovered just below the flatline after leading stocks’ recovery from a sharp sell-off. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) were also little changed.

Despite the recent pause in the rally, an eighth straight week of gains is still within stocks’ grasp on Friday — even if the rises are likely to be slight. The S&P 500 is eyeing a fresh all-time high thanks to investors’ faith that the Federal Reserve will soon start bringing down borrowing costs.

But a fresh read on the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — the PCE price index — could prompt a rethink if it fails to show the cooling that underpins those expectations.

In individual stock moves, Nike (NKE) shares sank 12% in premarket trading after the company warned it would cut jobs and expected sales to falter, thanks to weaker consumer spending. Shares of other sportswear makers fell in the wake of its revenue forecast cut.

Elsewhere, Tencent shares (0700.HK) (TCEHY) plunged to lead an $80 billion sell-off in some of China’s biggest online names. Fears of another tech crackdown reignited after Beijing unexpectedly imposed new rules on gaming.

Live1 update

  • The chase for 8

    Stocks rallied on Thursday in a rebound following Wednesday’s surprising sell-off that was the market’s worst in months.

    With Thursday’s gains — which saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each gain more than 1% — stocks are on pace for their eighth-straight winning week during the year’s final full week of trading.

    The only thing standing the market’s way, however, is the week’s biggest piece of economic news.

    At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index will be released, a report which includes the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, core PCE.

    This gauge is set to show prices rose 3.3% over last year in November and 0.2% over the prior month.

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