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U.S. CPI looms; Coca-Cola, Shopify earnings ahead - what's moving markets

Published 2024-02-13, 05:14 a/m
Updated 2024-02-13, 05:22 a/m
© Reuters -- U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street as investors await a much-anticipated January reading of U.S. inflation later Tuesday that could factor into how the Federal Reserve approaches future interest rate decisions. Elsewhere, Coca-Cola and Shopify (TSX:SHOP) are set to unveil their latest quarterly results, while the price of Bitcoin crests $50,000.

1. U.S. inflation reading ahead

Headline annual U.S. inflation is expected to have further cooled in January, although sticky prices for services are seen bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to push out possible interest rate cuts.

Economists project that the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) decelerated to 2.9% over the year-ago period last month, down from the prior reading of 3.4%. When compared to December, the measure is estimated to have slowed to 0.2% from 0.3%.

Stripping out volatile items like food and energy, the inflation guage is anticipated to have eased to 3.7% year-on-year and remain unchanged at 0.3% month-on-month.

The Fed has said that it wants to receive more evidence that the pace of price gains is "sustainably" moving towards its 2% target before starting to bring borrowing costs down from more than two-decade highs. The comment, which have been reiterated by Fed officials including Chair Jerome Powell, has all but dashed already waning hopes that the Fed would roll out rate reductions early this year.

But Powell has remained largely optimistic that the U.S. economy is on course for a so-called "soft landing" -- a scenario in which inflation is successfully quelled without sparking a broader downturn in either growth or the jobs market.

2. Futures lower

U.S. stock futures pointed lower on Tuesday as investors took a cautious stance ahead of the publication of the January inflation data at 08:30 ET.

By 04:59 ET (09:59 GMT), the S&P 500 futures contract had shed 15 points or 0.3%, Nasdaq 100 futures were down 100 points or 0.5%, and Dow futures were 0.2% lower.

The main averages on Wall Street posted a mixed session on Monday. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 0.3%, outperforming both the benchmark S&P 500, which dipped by 0.1% but remained above the 5,000-point mark it surpassed last week. Despite topping a recording closing high reached in 2021, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed lower by 0.3%.

In individual stocks, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) briefly moved above e-commerce giant Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) market capitalization, making the chipmaker -- and darling of a recent spike in enthusiasm around artificial intelligence -- the fourth-most valuable U.S. company. However, Nvidia was below Amazon at the closing bell.

3. Coca-Cola, Shopify headline earnings calendar

Traders will have the chance to parse through quarterly returns from several major companies this week.

Highlighting the calendar on Tuesday will earnings from food and beverage behemoth Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), as well as e-commerce platform Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) and vacation rental group Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB), with the outcome of these numbers potentially providing a look into the state of the U.S. consumer.

Later in the week, second-quarter figures will be released from cloud solutions provider Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), which is pushing to capitalize on the AI boom. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) will also report its fourth-quarter results following a recent spike in volatility in the market for digital coins.

4. Bitcoin breaks above $50k

The price of Bitcoin crossed a more than two-year high on Tuesday, with the world’s largest cryptocurrency crossing key levels amid consistent capital flows into the recently approved spot exchange-traded funds.

Bitcoin rose 3.2% to $50,160.2 by 20:13 ET (05:13 GMT), crossing the $50,000 mark for the first time since December 2021. The token was now about $19,000 away from touching fresh record highs.

Gains in Bitcoin came amid consistent capital flows into recently-approved spot exchange-traded funds. These ETFs saw net inflows of over $1 billion in the past week, digital asset management firm CoinShares said in a report on Monday. BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust (NASDAQ:IBIT) saw inflows of about $690 million, the biggest for the week.

The token also benefited from slowing outflows from Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (NYSE:GBTC), which was granted approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month to convert into a spot ETF. The conversion sparked the release of about $2 billion worth of Bitcoin onto the open market, which caused steep losses in the price of the cryptocurrency.

Analysts at Bernstein noted that an element of “fear of missing out”, or FOMO, was also attracting some retail interest in the cryptocurrency.

5. Oil inches higher

Oil prices gained ground in early European trade ahead of the U.S. inflation data and a key monthly report from the OPEC producer group.

Brent oil futures expiring in April rose 0.7% to $82.63 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.86% to $77.58 a barrel by 04:59 ET (09:59 GMT). Both contracts were close to two-week highs. Crude prices had risen sharply last week after a potential Israel-Hamas ceasefire was rejected by Israel.

Israel has kept up its offensive against the Palestinian group, while Yemen’s Houthi group has continued to attack vessels in the Red Sea (NYSE:SE). The latter has been the clearest sign that the Israel-Hamas conflict was potentially impacting global oil supplies, as crude shipments through the region have been redirected and delayed.

Traders are now eyeing the consumer price index reading due later on Tuesday. The Federal Reserve has recently warned that sticky inflation was likely to keep interest rates higher for longer, pointing to sustained pressure on the economy in the coming months- a trend that could potentially dent oil demand.

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