U.S. stock futures stayed mostly around the flatline on Monday, as traders returned following the Easter holiday to a slate of key economic data that could factor into the path ahead for Federal Reserve monetary policy.
At 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT), the Dow futures contract was up by 27 points or 0.08%, S&P 500 futures were largely unchanged, and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 16 points or 0.13%.
Playing into sentiment is the looming release of March inflation data out of the U.S. on Wednesday, with economists predicting that consumer prices rose by 5.2% on an annualized basis and 0.3% month-on-month in the world’s largest economy. The core figure, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, is projected to have risen by 5.6% yearly and 0.4% compared to February.
The numbers are likely to factor into whether the Fed chooses to slow a series of aggressive interest rate hikes which aimed to corral soaring price growth. Traders will have a chance to sift through the minutes from the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting in March as well.
Meanwhile, the closely-watched March labor market report released last week showed that the pace of hiring in the U.S. remained strong and unemployment edged lower. The New York Stock Exchange was closed on Friday when the Labor Department’s data was published. Rate-sensitive 2-year Treasury yields jumped after the report, but have since moved lower.
In corporate news, Pioneer Natural Resources Co (NYSE:PXD) shares added more than 8% in premarket dealmaking on a report from the Wall Street Journal that oil major Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) is in early-stage talks over a potential bid for the fracking group.
Shares in Tupperware Brands Corporation (NYSE:TUP) slipped by over 7% after the maker of plastic containers and kitchen gadgets said it was speaking with financial advisers over moves to bolster its capital structure.
Coming up later in the week, JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) are scheduled to report as the latest earnings season gets underway, with investors keen to see how the lending giants have been impacted by recent turmoil in the financial services sector.
Oil prices were broadly steady to start out the week. By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures rose 0.11% to $80.79 a barrel, while Brent was up by 0.05% to $85.16 per barrel.
Crude surged by over 6% last week following an announcement from OPEC+ earlier this month that it would embark on a fresh round of production cuts in May. U.S. crude inventories, meanwhile, dropped by more than expected.
Elsewhere on Monday, gold futures dipped by 0.45% to $2,017.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.02% lower at 1.0895.