U.S. stock index futures were little changed Tuesday as investors awaited producer price inflation data and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day for cues on the monetary policy path in the world’s largest economy.

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand is expected to have edged up 0.3% last month, according to economists polled by Reuters, after increasing by an unrevised 0.2% in March.

The PPI is expected to increase by 2.2% in the 12 months through April, after adding 2.1% in the prior month.

Sticky inflation and persistent labor market strength have prompted financial markets and most economists to push back expectations for an initial Fed interest rate cut.

Traders now see a 49.6% chance that the central bank will ease rates by 25 basis points in September, according to the CME FedWatch Tool, from 44% last month. At the start of the year, markets were expecting a first rate cut as early as March.

Still, stocks have rallied so far this year, with all three major U.S. indexes hovering near fresh record highs, underpinned by better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter and hopes that the Fed will cut rates sometime this year.

Focus will be more on Wednesday’s consumer price figures to help assess whether the upside surprises in the first quarter were a blip or a worrying trend.

“While official inflation prints have been higher than expected for the first three months of this year, we continue to expect more favorable data in the coming months amid a moderation of housing costs, a softer labor market, and a slowdown in consumer spending growth,” strategists at UBS Global Wealth Management said in a note.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is due to speak at 10:00 a.m. ET.

At 06:51 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 26 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.02% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.01%.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 2.5% in premarket trading after reporting a 86% drop in fourth-quarter profit.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled a bundle of steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports including electric vehicles, computer chips and medical products.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese EV makers Li Auto and Xpeng slid 3.1% and 2.5%, respectively.

GameStop jumped 57.5%, set to extend its rally after flag bearer Roaring Kitty posted on X.com for the first time in three years.

Other 2021 meme rally participants and highly shorted stocks such as AMC Entertainment and Koss Corp rose 60.3% and 16.2%, respectively.

On Holding climbed nearly 15% after the footwear maker posted a beat-and-raise quarter for sales on strong demand for its running shoes.


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