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Market: US stocks set to open higher

US futures pointed to a higher open today after a strong close yesterday, as investors are looking out for key inflation data. This might provide additional hints on the Federal Reserve’s plan to slowly lift interest rates.

The S&P futures rose 0.42% to 2,673, Dow futures gained 0.50% to 24,750 and Nasdaq increased 0.44% to 6,589.50. Elsewhere, shares at Asian markets closed mixed on Wednesday, while European stocks are trading higher.

On February 13, US ended sharply higher, with Dow closing up 0.2% to 24,640.45, Nasdaq gaining 0.5% to 7,013.51 and the S&P 500 rising 0.3% to 2,662.94.

Investors are anticipating a stronger-than-expected US inflation data. The consumer price index for the month of January is predicted to climb 1.9% year-on-year, slower than the 2.1% growth seen in the prior year. On month-on-month basis, consumer prices are projected to rise 0.3%, faster than December’s 0.1% growth.

On the corporate front, Fossil Group Inc. shares jumped more than 77% in the premarket after the watchmaker posted better-than-expected fourth quarter. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. shares climbed more than 11% in premarket after it hired Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol as its new CEO.

 

The Fed is viewing core prices as a better indicator of long-term inflation due to the exclusion of volatile food and energy categories. Usually, the bank tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less.

Meanwhile, other key economic data that will be released today include the Mortgage Applications from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association for the week, the Commerce Department’s Retail Sales for January, Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations for February, the Commerce Department’s Business Inventories for December, and the Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report for last week.

On the corporate front, Fossil Group Inc. shares jumped more than 77% in the premarket after the watchmaker posted better-than-expected fourth quarter. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. shares climbed more than 11% in premarket after it hired Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol as its new CEO, succeeding founder Steve Ells on March 5. Baidu Inc. stock gained more than 5% in premarket after better-than-expected fourth quarter results.

On the earnings front, Cisco Systems, TripAdvisor Inc., Marriott International Inc., and Applied Materials are key companies expected to release their earnings today.

Crude oil future is down 0.61% to $58.83. Gold is trading up 0.23% to $1,333.50 and Silver is up 0.31% to $16.58. On the currency front, the US dollar is trading down 0.40% at 107.38 yen. Against the euro, the dollar is down 0.07% to $1.2341. Against the pound, the dollar is up 0.16% to $1.3863.

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