Wall Street set to edge higher as inflation fears fade

Wall Street set to edge higher as inflation fears fade

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Wall St. sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ambar Warrick and Devik Jain

(Reuters) -U.S. stock indexes were set to inch up on Friday after inflation data calmed concerns over a possible long-term spike in consumer prices, with focus turning to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting for more cues on monetary policy.

The had surged to a record high on Thursday as investors scaled back expectations for early policy tightening by the Fed, with May’s consumer price data suggesting that a recent spike in inflation would be transitory.

Much of the price surge in May came from items such as commodities and airfares and it is expected to be temporary.

With recent data also indicating weakness in the labor market, the Fed is widely expected to maintain accommodative policy, which is positive for stocks and other risk-driven assets.

“The commentary will be that they’re still focusing on the last two employment reports, which were much weaker than anticipated. And so the Fed will have to wait for additional data before even talking about tapering,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“This meeting coming up plus the meeting in late July will probably result in no policy changes, or even contemplation of policy changes.”

U.S. S&P 500 E-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.14%, at 08:02 a.m. EDT. Dow E-minis were up 68 points, or 0.2%, while E-minis were up 17.25 points, or 0.12%

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set for mild weekly gains, as a lack of major catalysts and a summer lull in trading saw them move in a tight range.

But weakness in major industrial stocks saw the Dow Jones set for a weekly loss amid doubts over whether President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure spending plan would come to pass.

Cruise operators fell in premarket trade, with Royal Caribbean (NYSE:) Group shedding 2% after two guests on its Celebrity Millennium ship tested positive for COVID-19.

Stocks favored by small-time retail investors that have dominated trading volumes in recent weeks were set to close higher for the week, even as a rally appeared to be running out of steam on Thursday. Most of the so-called “meme” stocks rose in premarket trade.

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