Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes fluctuated on Thursday as investors digested a key inflation report that showed a bigger-than-expected increase in price pressures.
Consumer prices for May accelerated at their fastest pace since the summer of 2008 amid the economic recovery from the pandemic-triggered recession, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The consumer price index, which represents a basket including food, energy, groceries across a spectrum of goods, rose 5% from a year ago. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a gain of 4.7%.
Fears of spiking inflation have weighed on the stock market in the last month, with investors worried the jump in prices will raise costs for companies, spark a move higher in interest rates and cause the Federal Reserve to remove its easy money policies.
“This CPI isn’t likely to change the narrative dramatically and there are still indications that inflation momentum is set to abate in the coming months,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note Thursday.
Many economists also said the surge in used car costs for the month could have skewed the inflation reading. Used car and truck prices jumped more than 7%, accounting for one-third of the total increase for the month, according to the BLS. The jump in used car prices likely reflects a temporary phenomenon related to the pandemic and auto supply.
UPS shares rose about 1% in premarket trading after an upgrade from JPMorgan. Shares of Boeing and Delta Air Lines were also higher in premarket trading.
U.S. markets continued to trade within a tight range on Wednesday, with all three major indexes ending the day within 0.5% of Tuesday’s closing levels. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell during regular trading, ending the session further away from their respective all-time highs.
The S&P 500 remains closest to its benchmark and is just 0.44% away from a new all-time high. The Dow and Nasdaq are roughly 2% away from records.
Video-game retailer and meme stock GameStop fell 7% in premarket trading even after the company tapped former Amazon executive Matt Furlong to be its next CEO and said that sales rose 25% last quarter. The company also said it may sell up to 5 million additional shares.