Futures inch lower with all eyes on inflation data; Nike slides By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Christmas tree is seen outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., December 13, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures dipped on Friday on caution ahead of a key inflation report, which could test an eight-week long rally driven by optimism that the Federal Reserve could lower interest rates next year.

All eyes will be on personal consumption expenditure data – the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – due at 8:30 a.m. ET. A majority of economists polled by Reuters expect the price index to show a 2.8% rise on an annual basis in November, softening from a 3% increase the month before.

Core prices, excluding volatile items like food and energy, is expected to have risen by 3.3% last month, compared with 3.5% growth in October.

The and the Nasdaq finished over 1% higher on Thursday after data signaled third-quarter U.S. economic growth was not as robust as originally stated, aiding hopes that the Fed could reduce borrowing costs next year.

All three indexes are poised for their eighth-straight week in the green, with the S&P 500 set for its longest weekly winning streak since 2017, and the Nasdaq and the Dow since 2019.

The rally gained momentum last week after the central bank acknowledged that inflation was nearing the target rate, bringing interest rate cuts “into view”.

Traders see a 83.7% chance of at least a 25 basis point (bps) rate cut in March next year, and expect borrowing costs to be lower by 125 bps in September 2024, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Meanwhile, Nike (NYSE:) plunged 11.9% before the bell after the sports-wear maker trimmed its annual sales forecast blaming cautious consumer spending, a weaker online business and more promotions, and said it plans to cut supplies of key product lines to manage costs.

Shares of other sports-wear firms like Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:), Foot locker and DICK’S Sporting Goods dipped between 2.6% and 6.9% in thin trading.

At 5:46 a.m. ET, were down 120 points, or 0.32%, were down 4.5 points, or 0.09%, and were down 28.75 points, or 0.17%.

Among other movers, U.S.-listed shares of Chinese gaming firms NetEase (NASDAQ:) and Bilibili (NASDAQ:) tumbled 23.2% and 10.7%, respectively after Chinese regulators announced a wide range of rules aimed at curbing spending and rewards that encourage video games.

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:) climbed 0.8% after Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) raised its stake in the oil firm, bringing it closer to 28%.

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