Thursday September 15th


Stock futures are little changed as investors weigh solid consumer data, inflation concerns

U.S. stock markets index futures hovered near the flatline on Thursday morning as investors mulled over several economic reports that showed a muddy picture of the U.S. economy. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up 13 points, or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.2%, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.3%. On Thursday, retail sales and initial jobless claims came in better than expected, but import prices saw a smaller drop than estimates suggested. While those reports suggest that the U.S. consumer sector is holding up, they will do little to alleviate concerns about persistent inflation. Wall Street is coming off a choppy session in which the major averages posted modest gains. The Dow on Wednesday closed slightly higher, by 30 points, after falling more than 200 points at one point. The S&P 500 rose 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.7%. Stocks sought stability after a hotter-than-expected inflation report on Tuesday sent them tumbling to post their worst day since 2020. August’s consumer price index report showed headline inflation rose 0.1% on a monthly basis, despite a drop in gas prices. “One-day events are tough to extrapolate,” said Jeff deGraaf, founder and chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “It is one of those extreme events that doesn’t have follow-through and that tends to be good news, not bad.” “Inflation is really a dark cloud over equities, but I think it’s really important that people keep in mind that it’s not about good and bad in the markets, it’s about better and worse,” he added, “and it does appear that inflation is getting better.” Shares in the Asia-Pacific traded mixed on Thursday after Wednesday’s negative session, with stocks in Shenzhen and Shanghai falling sharply. Mainland China’s Shenzhen Component fell 2.105% to 11,526.96, dragged down by energy stocks. The Shanghai Composite shed 1.16% to 3,199.92, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.44% to 18930.38. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.21% to 27,875.91 and the Topix index was 0.15% higher at 1,950.43. The Japanese yen was last trading at 143.69 against the dollar after a reported “rate check” by the Bank of Japan. In South Korea, the Kospi closed 0.4% lower at 2,401.83. Oil dipped on Thursday as expectations of weaker demand and a strong U.S. dollar ahead of a potentially large interest rate increase balanced supply concerns. The International Energy Agency said this week oil demand growth would grind to a halt in the fourth quarter. The dollar held near recent peaks, supported by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to tighten policy. Brent crude was down $1.51, or 1.6%, at $92.61 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.36, or 1.5%, to $87.12 per barrel. Gold prices dropped to a near two-month low on Thursday as increased prospects of more aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve lifted the dollar. Spot gold fell 0.5% to $1,687.35 per ounce, after touching its lowest since July 21. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.7% to $1,697.20.