Stock futures drifted sideways Wednesday evening after a technology-led drop across the major equity indexes, with traders mulling signs that elevated inflation was still reverberating across the recovering economy.
As of market close Wednesday, the S&P 500 dropped for a back-to-back session, giving back more gains after eight consecutive sessions of advances to kick off November trading.
With no notable economic data due out on Thursday due to the Veterans Day holiday, investors have been left to continue responding to the latest batch of mixed economic data. And meanwhile, a couple of closely watched companies missed quarterly earnings estimates, though most S&P 500. companies have topped expectations throughout third-quarter earnings season to date.
After market close on Wednesday, Dow-component Disney (DIS) reported disappointing sales and profits as Disney+ subscriber growth slowed more than expected. Beyond Meat (BYND) also offered a weak current-quarter revenue forecast, pointing to continued sluggishness in the plant-based meat alternative-maker’s sales trends.
Elsewhere, however, elevated demand for electric-vehicle stocks and for shares of newly public companies showed few signs of slowing down after Rivian Automotive’s (RIVN) public debut. The Amazon-backed EV-maker’s stock closed higher by 29% from its IPO price of $78 per share on its first day trading on the Nasdaq.
A greater-than-expected jump in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index was a particular source of concern for traders on Wednesday, suggesting elevated price pressures were still present across many categories. The print also overshadowed some other upbeat economic data on the labor market’s recovery, as initial unemployment claims dipped to reach a fresh pandemic-era low last week.
The broadest measure of consumer price changes rose by a staggering 6.2% in October compared to the prior year, representing the biggest annual rise in 31 years.
“This is certainly telling us, I think, that price pressures are more persistent. They are broader. They are not just narrowly focused on those categories, whether it’s autos and the supply-constrained items. And it’s going to last longer than expected,” Matthew Luzzetti, Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist, told Yahoo Finance Live.
Importantly, stickiness in inflation also suggests that the Federal Reserve will need to step in sooner than previously anticipated to raise interest rates in order to help bring rising prices in check. Markets are pricing in an initial hike to bring rates up from their current near-zero levels by mid-2022 — but more prints showing elevated inflation could pull those expectations forward, Luzzetti added. And already, consumers’ outlooks on inflation have increased considerably, with the New York Federal Reserve reporting this week that consumers’ short-term inflation expectations jumped to a record high of 5.7%.
“We do think that the Fed is going to have to raise rates next year. They’ve signaled that they’re going to taper through the middle of the year, and that’s our baseline at this point,” Luzzetti said. “But if you continue to see price pressures like this over the coming months and more persistent, it may cause them to have to act earlier than expected.”
6:11 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures drift lower ahead of inflation data
Here’s where markets were trading Wednesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +3 points (+0.06%), to 4,645.00
Dow futures (YM=F): -8 points (-0.02%), to 35,984.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +12.5 points (+0.08%) to 15,993.00
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter