Stock futures rise as inflation fears ease

Traders will get to examine the latest jobless claims figures on Thursday

U.S. equity futures traded higher, continuing a rally that saw the Dow close above 32,000 for the first time.

The major futures indexes suggest a gain of more than 1.8% on the Nasdaq and 0.2% on the Dow.

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Stocks climbed on Wednesday after a key measure of inflation in the U.S. came in lower than expected, easing worries that price pressures could push interest rates higher.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, helping to send the Dow 1.5% higher to a record close of 32,297.02.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33815.9 -321.41 -0.94%
SP500 S&P 500 4134.98 -38.44 -0.92%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13818.412584 -131.81 -0.94%

The S&P 500 rose 23.37 points to 3,898.81. The Nasdaq slipped less than 0.1% to 13,068.83.

The Labor Department reported that U.S. consumer prices, a key measure of inflation at the consumer level, rose 0.4% in February, the biggest gain in six months, led by a jump in gasoline prices. But core inflation, excluding food and energy, posted a much smaller 0.1% gain, easing fears that the inflation might surge as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

CONSUMER PRICES ROSE IN FEBRUARY AS BIDEN'S SPENDING PLAN SPARKS INFLATION FEARS

Treasury yields fell broadly following the report, including the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.52%.

Thursday morning, the Labor Department will post its count of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 725,000, a decline of 20,000 from the prior week’s reading and the lowest since late November.

In Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.2%, Germany's DAX was off 0.1% and France's CAC gained 0.2%.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.7% and China's Shanghai Composite index jumped 2.4%.

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In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 66 cents to $65.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 43 cents to $64.44 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 72 cents to $68.62 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.