U.S. Stock Futures Point Slightly Lower After Rally

By Marina Force Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures declined Thursday after data showed U.S. consumer prices rose in August by the most since January.

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Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening loss for the S&P 500. Wall Street reached fresh records for a second day in a row on Wednesday.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was flat, while Asia stocks finished broadly down after disappointing economic data from China.

The consumer-price index, measuring what Americans pay for everything from medicine to home rent, grew 0.4% in August from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. The data would likely reassure the Federal Reserve about the economy's strength as it considers raising interest rates.

Earlier in the week, global stocks rallied as North Korea tensions and fears over Hurricane Irma eased.

Investors continue to debate how long the equities' bull run has left. Its sheer length makes some nervous, while others argue that strong earnings and economic growth will continue to support stocks.

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"You have people predicting the next Lehman crisis because the cycle has gone on for such a long time and people saying that it should carry on because the fundamentals are fine," Mr. Hatfield said, adding he sides more with the latter view.

Lewis Grant, global equities senior portfolio manager at Hermès, said there is still room for equities to go up, but "it wouldn't be surprising to see a little bit of nervousness among investors."

In U.K., the British pound rallied against the dollar and the euro, climbing by 1% and 1.2% respectively to $1.334 and EUR1.1248, after the Bank of England said it would keep interest rates unchanged, but signaled that officials are preparing to raise interest rates within months to restrain accelerating inflation.

U.K. 10-year gilt yields also jumped, rising from around 1.13% before the announcement to 1.19%, while the export heavy FTSE 100 inched down, as the pound drifted upward.

Elsewhere in currency markets, the euro was down 2% against the dollar, while the Swiss franc weakened against the euro. Switzerland's central bank softened its tone on the franc's strength and kept interest rates unchanged.

In the bond market, the 10-year Treasury yield moved slightly higher Thursday to trade at 2.198% according to Tradeweb, compared with Wednesday's close of 2.194%. Yields rise, when bond prices fall.

China's tepid economic data sent key stock indexes lower in Asia, reversing early gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended down 0.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.4%, while South Korea's Kospi finished up 0.7%.

"It was a surprise to us that the growth rate in fixed-asset investments came down so speedily, mostly due to the weakness in construction sector, " said ING economist Iris Pang. The latter is a reflection of a dip in real-estate activity, likely due to Beijing's efforts to cool the overheating property market, Ms. Pang said.

That data weighed on copper and iron ore as China is the biggest consumer of these commodities. Three-month London Metal Exchange copper futures fell 0.8% to $6,503 a metric ton, its lowest point in nearly a month.

Elsewhere in the commodities market, Brent crude gained 0.6% to trade at $55.52 a barrel and gold was flat.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2017 09:23 ET (13:23 GMT)