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Futures dip as investors await key inflation data


A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday after starting the week on a strong footing, as investors awaited a key inflation reading for clues on the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate path.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC) led the advance among Wall Street’s major indexes on Monday, boosted by a jump in Tesla (TSLA.O) shares on optimism around artificial intelligence following a Morgan Stanley rating upgrade.

Tesla fell 0.6% before the bell on Tuesday, while other megacap growth names including (AMZN.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) dropped 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively.

Investors await August consumer prices data, due on Wednesday, and producer prices scheduled on Thursday, followed by the Fed’s policy decision on Sept. 20.

A recent uptick in oil prices and strong economic data have fueled concerns over stubborn inflation, clouding the outlook for an end to U.S. monetary tightening.

Investors will also monitor the European Central Bank’s policy decision on Thursday, where it is seen holding rates after nine consecutive hikes.

“We are in the dovish camp for all three central banks – Fed, ECB and the BoE,” said Mohit Kumar, chief European economist at Jefferies.

“Our view is for a pause from both the Fed and the ECB, and believe that slowing data will remove the need for any further hikes.”

Traders see a 93% chance of rates remaining at the current levels in September and a near 58% likelihood of a pause in November, as per the CME FedWatch Tool.

Fed officials have now entered a blackout period, during which they usually do not make public comments.

Investors will also be on a lookout for any signs of a possible so-called soft landing for the U.S. economy that has been bruised by the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy tightening.

At 7:02 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 48 points, or 0.14%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 9 points, or 0.2%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 27.5 points, or 0.18%.

Cloud-services provider Oracle (ORCL.N) shed 9.9% in premarket trading after forecasting current-quarter revenue below targets and narrowly missing first-quarter expectations.

WestRock (WRK.N) jumped 7.8% on agreeing to merge with Europe’s Smurfit Kappa (SKG.I) to create the world’s largest listed paper and packaging company worth nearly $20 billion.

Paramount Global (PARA.O) added 1.3% as a report said major shareholder National Amusements had reached a debt-restructuring deal with its lenders.

Acelyrin (SLRN.O) slumped 57.2% as the drug developer’s experimental lead drug failed to show it was effective in reducing symptoms of an inflammatory skin disease.

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