Stock futures are slightly lower as investors looked to the start of corporate earnings season while considering what the latest inflation data implies about the economy.
Futures tied to the Dow Industrial Average lost 44 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures were slightly below the flatline, while Nasdaq-100 futures shed 0.1%.
The moves follow a winning day on Wall Street as investors cheered the latest data showing the pace of inflation was slowing. The Nasdaq Composite ended up nearly 2%, while the S&P 500 and Dow finished 1.3% and 1.1% higher, respectively.
The March producer price index, a measure of prices paid by companies, declined 0.5% from the prior month, even as economists polled by Dow Jones expected prices to stay the same. Excluding food and energy, the index shed 0.1% from the prior month, while economists estimated a 0.2% month-to-month increase.
The PPI, which is considered a leading indicator of consumer inflation, bolstered a trend of easing inflation seen in the March consumer price index report released Wednesday. Consumer prices grew 5% on an annual basis, which was the smallest year-over-year increase in nearly two years.
The data points bolstered those hoping the Fed is seeing inflation fall enough to end its interest rate hike campaign in the near future, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
“The movement in the market today clearly is reflecting the continued decline in inflationary pressures — and the belief, therefore, that the Fed will more likely stop with one more rate increase rather than two,” Stovall said. “Investors are becoming optimistic that times will improve.”
Investors will watch for big-bank earnings Friday, with JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citi set to report before the bell. They will also watch for data on retail sales, import prices and the industrial sector for more insights into the state of the economy.