(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures traded in a tight range on Thursday as investors waited for inflation data for signs the Federal Reserve could start tightening monetary policy faster than expected.
The Labor Department’s report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, will likely show that the consumer price index increased 0.4% last month after surging 0.8% in April, the largest gain since June 2009, as speedy vaccinations helped re-open the economy.
While the Fed has reiterated that the spike in inflation would be transitory, investors fear that a bigger-than-expected surge could push the central bank into tightening policy earlier than signaled.
The Fed’s monetary policy meeting next week will be closely watched for any signals. The labor market and inflation are two key factors for the Fed to consider tightening, and while inflation has risen, recent payrolls data was underwhelming.
Investors were also watching for weekly jobless claims data, due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
U.S. S&P 500 E-minis were up 3 points, or 0.07% at 06:36 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 81 points, or 0.24%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were down 35.75 points, or 0.26%.
A rally in so-called “meme” stocks looked set to continue, with shares of Clover Health – a recent target of retail buyers – rising 4.5% in premarket trade.
GameStop Corp, the stock most closely associated with the retail buying frenzy this year, fell 6.0% after it named the head of Amazon’s Australian business as its CEO and reported quarterly results that were stronger than expectated.
Boeing rose 1.1% after sources told Reuters United Airlines was in talks to place a multi-billion-dollar order for single-aisle jets potentially split between Boeing and Europe’s Airbus.
Focus was also on a major infrastructure spending bill, talks over which hit a deadlock in the Senate.
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