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Dow Futures Fall 130 Pts; Consumer Inflation, Quarterly Earnings in Focus

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Monday, with investors wary at the start of the new earnings season and the release of key inflation data, especially in the wake of a strong jobs report.

At 7 AM ET (1100 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 130 points or 0.4%, S&P 500 Futures traded 21 points or 0.6% lower, and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 92 points or 0.8%.

The major Wall Street indices ended last week largely flat, although the week as a whole was a winning one. Friday also saw the release of a healthy official employment report which showed that the economic slowdown which has worried investors since the Federal Reserve started hiking interest rates has yet to hit the U.S. labor market.

That said, the payrolls growth, while good for the economy, could also give the green light to the Fed to continue its aggressive monetary tightening when it meets at the end of the month.

With this in mind, Wednesday’s release of June inflation data will be the main focus this week. The U.S. consumer price index is expected to show an 8.8% year-over-year increase and a 1.1% month-over-month increase, which would be accelerations from last month’s number, driven largely by higher gas prices and the cost of energy.

The core figure, however, which excludes the volatile energy and food prices, is expected to be 5.8% year-over-year, slightly down from May’s number.

The new quarterly earnings season starts in earnest this week, with leading banks like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), and Citigroup (NYSE:C) starting the ball rolling later this week, providing a global perspective on economic activity.

Corporate earnings are likely to remain resilient to surging inflation and slowing economic growth, according to Citigroup, which could result in U.S. stocks rallying in the second half of the year.

“Current risk-off positioning and second-half earnings resilience set up for a mean reversion trade higher into year end,” Citi strategists wrote in a note on Friday.

Elsewhere, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) shares slumped 7% premarket after Elon Musk backed out of his $44 billion deal to buy the social media giant and take it private, setting the scene for an extensive legal battle.

Oil prices weakened Monday as fresh COVID concerns in Shanghai raised fears of new lockdowns and a hit to demand from the largest importer of crude in the world.

The highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron variant was discovered in China’s commercial hub over the weekend, prompting another round of mass screening from Tuesday to Thursday.

Also impacting the energy market is the news that the biggest single pipeline carrying Russian gas to Germany has started annual maintenance, with flows expected to stop for ten days.

This has stoked fears that Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant that runs the pipeline, will refuse to bring Nord Stream 1 back online at the end of the period, deepening Europe's energy crisis.

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.2% lower at $102.47 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.7% to $105.19.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,734.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.7% lower at 1.0109.


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