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Share futures somewhat lower with all eyes on the important inflation report

After December's garbage fire, the markets are optimistic, says Josh Brown from Ritholtz

Stock futures were slightly lower in premarket trade on Thursday as investors awaited a key inflation report to gauge the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s rate hike campaign.

Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 34 points. S&P 500 futures were fractionally lower and Nasdaq 100 futures z

All eyes are on December’s consumer price index, with the consensus forecast calling for a slight easing of price pressures.

Economists expect the consumer price index to fall 0.1% for December but rise 6.5% year-on-year, compared with a 0.1% monthly gain in November and an annual pace of 7.1%, according to Dow Jones. The CPI is well outside the peak interest rate of 9.1% in June.

Excluding food and energy prices, economists expect the CPI for December to be 0.3% higher than last month and 5.7% higher than a year ago.

“Inflation should continue to ease, which will lead to an end to Fed rate hikes this spring, keeping interest rates in check and strengthening corporate earnings,” Jeff Buchbinder, chief equity strategist at LPL Financial, said in a note.

Shares rose on Wednesday ahead of the inflation report as investors bet that the Fed may slow its interest rate hikes in light of lower prices. The Dow climbed more than 260 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.3% with all 11 sectors ending the day higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.8% on Wednesday, snapping a four-day streak.

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