Futures flat as debt ceiling talks drag on, inflation data in focus

(Reuters) – Wall Street index futures were little changed on Friday as investors refrained from making big bets amid ongoing U.S. debt ceiling talks that appear to have made some progress, while also awaiting a key inflation reading.

After several rounds of negotiations, President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy are closing in on a deal to raise the government’s $31.4 trillion debt limit for two years, while capping spending on most items.

The S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are on course for their worst weekly performance in over two months as debt ceiling talks have been dragging on in Washington even as the June 1 deadline looms large.

The Dow has fallen for five straight sessions.

Meanwhile, investors await the Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index figures for April, considered to be the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge. The reading is due at 0830 ET.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the PCE price index is expected to have risen 0.3% last month, the same as in March.

The figures will offer clarity on the impact of the Fed’s aggressive tightening campaign on consumer spending as Americans hit by high inflation become increasingly price-sensitive.

Separately, the University of Michigan’s final May reading of consumer sentiment is expected to remain unchanged at 57.7.

At 5:17 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 54 points, or 0.16%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 6 points, or 0.14%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.02%.

Among early movers, Ford Motor Co gained 1.0% as it allowed its electric vehicle owners to gain access to more than 12,000 Tesla Inc Superchargers in North America in early 2024. Tesla shares rose 0.5%.

Apparel retailer Gap Inc jumped 11.7% in premarket trading after reporting a surprise profit for the first quarter on Thursday.

Chipmaker Marvell Technology Inc jumped 15.8% after it forecast its annual artificial intelligence (AI) revenue would double.

This comes just as shares of the world’s most valuable chipmaker, Nvidia Corp, hit a record high on Thursday after its bumper forecast. Nvidia shares were down 0.3% in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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