Stock futures open week with Fed meeting, key inflation data ready

US stock futures were modestly lower on Sunday night a week ago with few expected developments in the ongoing fight against inflation.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 50 points, or about 0.2%. Those for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

The move in futures is coming, as will investors focused on inflation this week. November’s consumer price index will be released on Tuesday and traders will be looking for a sign that inflation is slowing.

The Federal Reserve has a two-day meeting starting the same day. The central bank is expected to announce another rate hike on Wednesday, although traders expect less movement than in recent months.

In addition to the expected rate hike, the Fed’s updated economic forecasts and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference could be key signals of what the central bank wants to do in the coming months.

“Financial conditions have eased sharply since the October CPI reading released last month, so the Fed is likely to use the December FOMC meeting to loosen themk. …We think the markets are too bullish on interest rates after the first quarter and expect Powell to take a more hawkish tone and points to higher interest rates for a longer time frame than what futures are currently pricing in. markets,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer of Cornerstone Wealth.

Wall Street is coming off a rough week that saw it all three major averages lose ground. The Dow fell 2.77% for its worst week since September. The S&P 500 fell 3.37%, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 3.99%.

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