Stock futures inched higher as investors await key November inflation report

Stock futures were marginally higher early Tuesday as Wall Street braced for the key November inflation report and the start of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17 percent, while futures tied to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 added 0.18 percent and 0.21 percent, respectively.

Oracle shares gained nearly 2% after hours on strong quarterly results.

Investors await the release of November Consumer Price Index Reportand are hoping for signs of easing inflation. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect growth of 0.3% on a monthly basis, or an annual rate of 7.3%. That would be a step down from October’s monthly gain of 0.4% and an annual gain of 7.7%.

Tuesday’s inflation report could play a key role in the Federal Reserve’s next rate hike decision, which is expected at the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

Traders largely priced in a 50-basis-point increase, down slightly from the previous four increases. They will also watch updated economic forecasts and comments from Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference for signs of a potential policy reversal as recession fears remain on Wall Street.

Monday’s overnight moves follow a solid session for all major averages after a tough week of declines. The Dow gained more than 528 points, or 1.58 percent, while the S&P and Nasdaq rose 1.43 percent and 1.26 percent, respectively.

All major sectors of the S&P 500 ended with gains, led by gains in energy stocks, which rose as oil prices rose.

“I think that’s a reflection of what’s expected from the CPI tomorrow and the hope that the Fed will confirm a 50 basis point hike on Wednesday,” said Kevin Phillip, partner at Bel Air Investment Advisors.

“I think the market, as it has done in the past, is betting, in my view, a little too heavily on some kind of Fed support, and this bounce that we got today is fragile at best.”

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