US Futures Fall on Key Inflation Data: Markets Wrap

US stock futures fell as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's main inflation index, which will guide interest rates. Bitcoin rallied beyond $63,000.

S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 contracts fell 0.3%. European equities rose on another busy results day. Italian luxury brand Moncler SpA rose when its profit topped expectations. After losing the fourth quarter, Air France-KLM fell. Anheuser-Busch InBev fell after missing profit forecasts.

Later Thursday, traders will await US core personal consumption expenditure gauge data, which may show the Fed's difficult route to 2% inflation. The PCE reading should confirm central bank officials' previous comments that monetary policy would not be eased soon.

Chinese shares rebounded, lifting an Asian equity index. After Bank of Japan Board Member Hajime Takata hinted that the argument for abandoning the negative interest rate policy is growing, the yen rose the highest in almost a week against the dollar.

Bitcoin gained after rising above $60,000 for the first time in two years Wednesday on exchange-traded fund demand. The currency nearly reached $64,000. Record high is little about $69,000 in 2021. Treasury rates rose after a bond rally on Wednesday that saw the 10-year yield fall four basis points and the policy-sensitive two-year fall six.

New York Fed President John Williams said Wednesday the central bank has “a ways to go” in fighting inflation, while Atlanta Fed leader Raphael Bostic advised patience with policy changes

Traders expect 80 basis points of easing by year-end, close to what policymakers predicted in December. The Fed has usually reduced 25 basis points, so that would be three cuts in 2024. At the start of February, swaps predicted roughly 150 basis points of reduction this year.

Investors positioned expecting a reduction of the Japan-US interest rate difference, pushing the yen to 149.61 versus the dollar.

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