U.S. stock futures struggle for direction as investors wait for inflation data later this week

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MARKET SNAPSHOT

© Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

U.S. stock-index futures were mixed Tuesday, with investors in a waiting mode ahead of another round of inflation data later in the week.

What are major indexes doing?

  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 18 points, or 0.1%, at 34,598.
  • S&P 500 futures were up 4.75 points, or 0.1%, at 4,230.25.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures rose 56.25 points, or 0.4%, to 13,860.50.

On Monday, the Dow fell 126.15 points, or 0.4%, to end at 34,630.24 after trading above its all-time closing high of 34,777.76 set on May 7. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%, but remains just 0.1% away from its record close, while the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.5%.and the small-cap Russell 2000 rose 1.4%.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks have been stuck in a trading range for several weeks, with the Dow and S&P 500 index trading not far off all-time highs, as investors look for a fresh catalyst and await data on inflation pressures.

The release Thursday of the May consumer-price index is shaping up to be the main data event of the week. A hotter-than-expected read on the April CPI, which rose 4.2% year over year, temporarily rattled markets last month.

“In our view, the fact that underlying inflationary pressures are rising as well raises questions as to whether the spike in headline inflation is due to transitory factors, as the Fed initially supported,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note.

“Now, with several policy makers arguing that they need to start discussing policy normalization at the upcoming gatherings, further acceleration in consumer prices may increase speculation for the committee acting sooner than previously thought, and thereby result in a pullback in equities and other risk-linked assets,” the analyst said.

Stock futures extended declines early Tuesday after an internet outage took down several major sites, but bounced off session lows after reports tied the outage to a glitch at cloud-computing services provider Fastly Inc. Fastly said on its website that it had identified the issue and a “fix is being implemented,” shortly before 7 a.m. Eastern. Fastly shares were down 1.8% in premarket trade.

A closely followed small-business index fell slightly in May, coming in 0.2 point lower at 99.6, to mark the first decline of the year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The fall came as small-business owners said they are losing sales because they can’t find enough people to fill open jobs. And now rising inflation is adding to their worries.

The U.S. economic calendar also features April international trade-deficit figures due at 8:30 a.m. The is gap expected to narrow to $69 billion after the U.S. economy saw a deficit of $74.4 billion in March.

Data on April job openings will be closely watched amid concerns over difficulties employers are reporting in filling positions. The data is due at 10 a.m., with economists looking for openings to rise to 8.2 million from 8.1 million in March.

Which companies are in focus?

  • Online personal styling service Stitch Fix Inc. said late Monday that it expects revenue to be better than analysts’ forecast in the fiscal year ending July 31. Shares rose more than 15% in premarket trade.
  • Marvell Technology Inc. shares were up 5.9% after the chip maker late Monday reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations and forecast record revenue months after the close of a major acquisition.
  • Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. rose after the air carrier provided May metrics and a June outlook that reflected improving leisure passenger traffic and fares.
  • Southwest also said it recently entered into an agreement with Boeing Co.  to increase its 2022 orders by 34 Boeing 737 MAX 7 planes, bringing the total to 234 firm orders. Boeing shares rose 1.5%.
  • Navistar International Corp. said it turned a profit for the fiscal second quarter as it boosted production line rates in all its vehicle assembly plants, though the increase was slower than anticipated because of supply-chain constraints. Navistar shares were inactive in premarket action.
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