RTTNews - After seeing a notable retreat in the previous session, stocks are showing a lack of conviction ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday. The major index futures are on opposite sides of the unchanged line, as traders are digesting the latest consumer price data, attempting to gauge near-term inflation prospects.
Consumer prices showed a modest increase in the month of May, according to a report released by the Labor Department, with the mild price growth coming in below the expectations of economists.
The report showed that consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in May after coming in unchanged in April. Economists had been expecting a somewhat more substantial increase in prices of about 0.3 percent.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, also edged up 0.1 percent in May following a 0.3 percent increase in April. The modest increase in core prices came in line with economist estimates.
In other news, auto-parts suppliers may be impacted by news that the Obama administration has rejected the industry request for additional government assistance. U.S. auto-parts suppliers asked for an additional $8 billion to $10 billion in new aid on top of a $5 billion support program put in place earlier this year.
Traders will also focus on President Barack Obama's series of reforms for the financial sector set to be revealed in further detail later today.
The administration will first establish a Financial Services Oversight Council, headed by the Treasury Department, to better coordinate the actions of various regulators. It will also facilitate coordination of policy between regulators and work to identify emerging risks to the system.
The plan will also require financial firms to be subject to higher capital standards, while it also eliminates the Federal Office of Thrift Supervision, considered one of the weaker regulators in Washington.
On the earnings front, FedEx (FDX) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $0.64 per share, beating analyst estimates of $0.51 per share. However, the firm also forecast first quarter earnings ranging from $0.30 to $0.45 per share versus estimates of $0.68 per share.
After the close of trading on Wall Street on Tuesday, Adobe Systems (ADBE) reported adjusted second quarter net income of $185.0 million or $0.35 per share compared to $272.7 million or $0.50 per share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected the firm to earn $0.35 per share.
After experiencing a strong start on the heels of largely encouraging economic data, stocks turned lower over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The Dow closed down 107 points at 8,505, the Nasdaq closed down 20 points at 1,796 and the S&P 500 closed down 12 points at 912.
Amid the volatility in crude oil prices in the past few trading sessions, traders will also look to the weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Agency to assess the direction of crude oil prices. The report is set to be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Crude oil futures are dropping in early commodities trading, falling by $1.08 to $69.39 a barrel after ending the previous session down $0.15 at $70.47 a barrel. The price of gold is also retreating, slipping $2.70 to $929.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is mixed against the major European currencies, moving down to $1.3850 against the euro but rising to $1.6253 against the pound. Meanwhile, the dollar is little changed against the yen, at a level of 96.23 yen.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia Pacific region ended Wednesday's trading on a mixed note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished down 0.5 percent.
The major European markets are declining by a considerable margin, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both diving by 1.2 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.1 percent.
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