U.S. stock futures edged ahead in early trade Thursday as Wall Street awaited consumer price data and watched the results of the election runoff.
Futures linked to the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.2%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (^DJI) added just 30 points, or 0.1%. Contracts on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) rose by 0.4%. The moves come after each of the major averages fell at least 2% on Wednesday amid midterm election uncertainty.
Republicans appeared poised to take control of the House of Representatives, but did not clean up the polls as much as expected, undermining optimism about investor expectations in a market-friendly impasse.
As Wall Street waits for political clarity while the vote count is still underway, GLOBALT Investments vice president and senior portfolio manager Thomas Martin says markets are now laser-focused on just one thing: the effect of central bank tightening on inflation.
“For now, the effects do not appear to be that different from zero,” he said in a note late Wednesday. “Yes, there were data points that hinted at some price easing, but they failed to muster sustained momentum.”
Investors are bracing for another hot reading on inflation when the government releases the October consumer price index (CPI) at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect print headlines to show annual growth of 7.9%, while the headline figure is 6.5%.
Until the last policy-setting meeting earlier this month, traders had hoped that Federal Reserve officials would ease their plans to tighten monetary policy as economic data softened. But Chairman Jerome Powell pushed back against the idea that a change in the Fed’s path was imminent, with inflation and wages still strongly elevated.
“The latest inflation numbers are again higher than expected,” Powell said. “Price pressures remain evident across a wide range of goods and services.”
Renewed risk aversion on Wednesday was also fueled by the rapid FTX crash, the cryptocurrency exchange run by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. Concerns about the possibility of FTX defaulting after rival Binance pulled out of an emergency rescue deal to buy the firm sent chaos into crypto markets, with jitters spilling over into other risk assets. Bitcoin was hovering around $16,300 on Thursday morning.
On the corporate front, shares of Bumble (BMBL) sank 15% in extended trade after it reported third-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street estimates and revised downward guidance for the current period because of currency headwinds and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
ZipRecruiter (ZIP) shares, meanwhile, jumped by the same amount after the online jobs market raised its full-year forecast and gave the go-ahead for a $200 million increase in its stock buyback program.
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc