Stock futures inch higher following highest inflation data in decades

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, April 4, 2022.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Stocks futures were flat in overnight trading as investors weighed the latest inflation data for March.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20 points or 0.06%, while S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat.

Tuesday’s inflation data showed consumer prices rise 8.5% in March from the previous year — the highest level since 1981 — further fueling concerns of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve. Core CPI rose 0.3%, slightly below expectations.

“I think it’s very likely inflation peaked,” Guggenheim Partners Global Chief Investment Officer Scott Minerd told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Tuesday. “If it didn’t peak in March, we’re in the process of peaking.” 

The 10-year Treasury hit a new three-year high, topping 2.82% before pulling back to 2.727%.

After rallying earlier in the day the major averages closed Tuesday’s session in the negative. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 87.72 points, or 0.26%, to 34,220.36. The S&P 500 slipped 0.34% to 4,397.45, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.30% to 13,371.57.

Seven sectors ended the day in the negative led by financials. Technology also struggled, with Microsoft and Meta closing down about 1%. Nvidia fell 1.9% and Advanced Micro Devices fell 2.3%, continuing a string of losses in the semiconductor industry.

Oil prices jumped as China relaxed some Covid-19 lockdowns which could have hard-hit demand. The international benchmark Brent crude rose 6.26% to $104.64 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped 6.69% to $100.60 per barrel. The moves sent energy stocks rising with Marathon Oil and Occidental Petroleum ending the day up 4.2% and 2.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the dollar index rose 0.39% and hit a high of 100.332, its highest level since May 2020. Gold also added 1.43% and settled at $1,976.1.

Investors are looking ahead to the start of earnings season on Wednesday, which begins with JPMorgan and Delta Airlines.

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