Stocks were lower before the bell on Wall Street on Wednesday, with the focus firmly on consumer inflation data that could derail the Federal Reserve’s next policy decision.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) both slipped around 0.3%. Nasdaq 100 futures were about 0.5% lower, after retreating more than 1% in the previous session.
August’s Consumer Price Index report showed higher-than-expected inflation last month, with headline prices rising 0.6% month-on-month and 3.7% year-on-year. The tension was caused by the recent rally in energy prices.
The data represents the last inflation print the Fed will get before next week’s meeting, and is one of the most important data points for policymakers to decide whether to keep interest rates on hold for longer.
WTI crude (CL=F) and Brent (BZ=F) oil prices rose on Wednesday, trading at 10-month highs. That could put pressure on stocks and hamper the Fed’s efforts to slow inflation.
Eyes are still on Blockbuster Arm’s IPO, with investors expected to price the offering on Wednesday, and it will launch in New York on Thursday. The SoftBank-backed British chip designer has opted to accept support from the top of its range ($47-$51 a share) or higher, Reuters sources said.
Apple has been in the spotlight since it launched the iPhone 15 and China on Wednesday announced “security issues” with its smartphones. Officials denied reports that China was moving to curb iPhone use in government offices and state-owned companies that helped drive a slide in Apple’s stock.
At the same time, the EU has launched an investigation into China’s subsidies to its EV makers, to prevent a flood of cheap imports. Shares in the European auto sector rallied initially after the announcement, but lost ground as China’s tensions rose.
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