Equities Jump Ahead of Inflation Report

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U.S. stock futures were slightly higher on Wednesday as investors anticipate the start of earnings season and a new inflation reading.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials gained 63 points, or 0.2%, to 34,324.

Futures for the S&P 500 picked up 11.25 points, or 0.3%, to 4,352.

Futures for the NASDAQ Composite Index advanced 68.25 points, or 0.5%, to 14,721.50.

Third-quarter earnings season kicked off on Wednesday with JPMorgan Chase, which said that quarterly profit topped expectations following a boost from better-than-expected loan losses. Revenue for the largest U.S. bank by assets also came in higher than expected.

JPMorgan shares ticked up in pre-market trading.

Delta Air Lines also reported financial results before the opening bell on Wednesday. The airline posted higher-than-expected revenue and its first quarterly profit without counting federal aid since the start of the pandemic.

Shares of Delta dipped slightly in the pre-market, however, as the company said higher costs of fuel and other expenses will pressure its fourth-quarter bottom line.

Apple shares were slightly lower in pre-market trading after a Bloomberg News report that said it is likely to cut iPhone 13 production because of chip shortages. Chipmakers including Skyworks and Broadcom were also lower in pre-market trading.

The Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its September meeting at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Investors will be looking for clues about timelines surrounding the central bank’s planned taper for its bond-buying program.

Investors will be watching for September’s consumer inflation report, which is expected to have continued to jump at the same rapid pace as August.

Economists expect to see a rise of 0.3%, or a 5.3% annualized rate, when the consumer price index is released Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET, according to Dow Jones estimates. Excluding energy and food, CPI is forecast to be up 0.3% month-over-month or 4% annualized.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.3% Wednesday, while in Hong Kong, markets were closed by a typhoon alert.

Oil prices fell 59 cents to $80.05 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices shone brighter $16.40 to $1,775.70 U.S. an ounce.

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