U.S. stock index futures edged higher Monday as Treasury yields slipped ahead of economic data this week that could offer insights on when the Federal Reserve could start cutting interest rates.

The main Wall Street indexes are looking to end 2023 on a high note as signs of slowing inflation and expectations that the U.S. central bank will soon ease its monetary policy attract buyers. The blue-chip Dow notched its third consecutive session of record high on Friday, while the benchmark S&P 500 marked a seventh straight week of gains in its longest winning streak since 2017.

Economic data this week include the Personal Consumption Expenditure index (PCE) – the Fed’s favored inflation gauge – weekly jobless claims, housing starts and the final reading of the third-quarter GDP report.

The PCE data, the final set of inflation figures for this year, is expected to show on Friday prices eased marginally in November on a year-over-year basis.

U.S. equity markets rallied last week after the Fed left interest rates unchanged and officials’ forecasts collectively priced in three quarters of a percentage point in cuts in 2024.

Traders are currently pricing in a 75% chance that the Fed will cut interest rates at least by 25 basis points in March, according to CME Group’s Fedwatch tool, even as a top Fed policymaker pushed back on the ebullience on Friday.

At 5:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 72 points, or 0.19%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.21%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21.25 points, or 0.13%.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for the S&P 500, which it now sees ending 2024 at 5,100, while decelerating inflation and Fed easing would keep real yields low.

Among single stocks, Apple slipped 0.7% in premarket trading after Bloomberg News reported on Friday that more Chinese agencies and state-backed companies have asked their staff to not bring iPhones and other foreign devices to work.

Illumina rose 5.4% the gene sequencing company said it would divest cancer diagnostic test maker Grail after the companies battled U.S. and European antitrust enforcers for more than two years and faced fierce opposition from activist investor Carl Icahn.

U.S.-listed shares of Nio climbed 10.7% after it said it had signed an agreement with CYVN Holdings, an investment vehicle based in Abu Dhabi, for the latter to invest $2.2 billion in the Chinese electric vehicle maker.

United States Steel surged 29% after Japan’s Nippon Steel said it would buy the steelmaker in a deal worth $14.9 billion including debt.


© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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