By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening mixed Thursday, in tight trading ranges ahead of the widely-anticipated release of U.S. inflation data later in the session.
At 7 AM ET (1200 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 75 points, or 0.2%, S&P 500 Futures traded 2 points, or 0.1%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 35 points, or 0.3%.
The three major indices traded within tight ranges lower Wednesday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, the broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite all ending the day within 0.5% of Tuesday’s closing levels.
The proximity of the latest U.S. consumer price release, due at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), has stifled activity, with investors fretting that a sharp spike in inflation could prompt the Federal Reserve to curb the pace of its asset purchases or begin to signal an increase to interest rates.
Consumer prices are rising quickly as the economy reopens after the pandemic, and this report is expected to show prices rose another 0.4% in May, pushing annual inflation above April’s 4.2%, already the highest in more than a decade, to 4.7%.
“Although this should be a peak in U.S. prices, inflation should remain elevated and above the target throughout the year.” said analysts at ING, in a note.
Additionally, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week is seen dropping by 15,000 to 370,000 from 385,000 the previous week, in a further sign of economic reopening.
In corporate news, retail favorite GameStop (NYSE:GME) is likely to be in focus Thursday, trading around 6% lower premarket, after the struggling video games retailer said after the close Wednesday that it planned to offer more shares and disclosed that regulators are investigating trading of its stock.
The meme stock also announced it has appointed new chief executive and chief financial officers from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), while reporting first-quarter earnings that beat estimates.
Crude oil prices edged higher Thursday, struggling to add to the substantial gains the market has posted this year as increased U.S. gasoline stocks punctured optimism for rising demand during the U.S. driving season.
By 6:30 AM ET, U.S. crude was up 0.3% at $70.14 a barrel, after earlier this week closing above the $70 mark for the first time since October 2018. Brent was up 0.4% at $72.48, still below the highest level since May 2019.
On Wednesday, crude oil supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a draw, for the third straight week, of just over 5 million barrels for the week ending June 4.
However, U.S. gasoline inventories increased the most since April 2020, rising by more than 7 million barrels for a second weekly gain, suggesting weaker-than-expected fuel demand at the start of summer, the country's peak season for motoring.