Stocks traded mixed ahead of the bell on Thursday, as investors braced for a crucial inflation report likely to play into the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates at its September policy meeting.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) were up 0.3%, or 120 points, buoyed by a jump in Salesforce shares after the software giant’s AI-fueled earnings beat. S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures rose 0.1%, while contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 slipped 0.1%.
The gauges closed out Wednesday with their fourth-straight day of gains, as investors took heart from yet more data reflecting the softening in economic growth that the Fed is looking for. But they are still on track to end August with losses.
This week’s weaker-than-expected data has supported bets the Fed will ease back on its interest-rate hikes, so investors are keenly focused on the release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index on Thursday. Eyes will be on any signs of cooling in policymakers’ preferred indicator of inflation.
Friday’s August jobs data rounds out the week’s updates on the health of the US economy, and is seen as hugely key to the Fed’s September meeting, given how key a slowdown in wages is to the central bank’s battle to temper price pressures.