Stock futures were flat on Tuesday evening as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike decision in an effort to quell inflation, due on Wednesday.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 4 points, or 0.01%. Composite S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.01% and 0.02%, respectively.
Stocks soared For the second day during regular trading on Tuesday, a Cooler than expected inflation report. November’s consumer price index was up 7.1% year-over-year, less than the 7.3% gain expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The 0.1% increase from the previous month was lower than forecast.
A signal that inflation may have peaked was positive for stocks, meaning the central bank may be a step closer to halting interest rate hikes or switching to cuts, fueling stocks.
On Wednesday, the central bank will wrap up its December meeting and deliver its latest rate hike. Investors were mostly expecting a 50 basis point increase — or half a percentage point — a small bump after four consecutive 75 basis point hikes. A basis point is equal to one-hundredth of a percent.
Chairman Jerome Powell will also speak on Wednesday, offering more clues about what’s to come from the Fed in 2023. At meetings earlier this year, traders sensed Powell’s language and interpreted his tone as hawkish or foolish.
“Obviously the market believes there’s going to be a pivot or a pause, and that’s what we saw today,” Steve Grasso, CEO of Grasso Global, said on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” [Powell] If you put a wet blanket over it, the market is going to sell off.”
The Fed meeting is the last meeting of the year. The next central bank meeting will be held from January 31 to February 1, 2023.