Stock index futures pointed to a flat to lower open on Wednesday as key data for May tempered inflation concerns but was offset by a disappointing earnings outlook from package delivery company FedEx Corp
The May Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent month-over-month after being flat in April, below the median forecast of a Reuters poll of 68 economists for a 0.3 percent increase. Excluding the more volatile food and energy prices, the index rose in line with analyst expectation of a 0.1 percent increase.
The recent surge in commodity prices and oil's brief run-up above $73 a barrel last week had led to investors concerns that inflation pressures may have been seeping into the broader economy.
Certainly (it's) a disinflation or even a deflation environment currently, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.
So the worries that everyone has about inflation, it's something that may occur -- it's not going to definitely occur, and it's certainly not an imminent threat to the economy.
Economic bellwether FedEx
S&P 500 futures slipped 2.8 points and were slightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dipped 29 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.5 points.
The spotlight will also be on the details of the Obama administration's financial regulatory reform package, due to be announced later on Wednesday. U.S. President Barack Obama will present his proposals at 12:50 p.m..
In the past two days, the benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> has dropped more than 3 percent amid concerns that the economic recovery might prove weak and provide very little impetus for earnings growth.
The focus simply is with the lightness of volume, the lack of significant trading occurring, added Ghriskey. Are there simply no more buyers out there currently to step up and keep the rally going?
The S&P 500, however, is still up 34.8 percent from its 12-year low of March 9, and even with Tuesday's selloff it managed to extend its hold above the 200-day moving average -- a crucial technical gauge for market strength -- to a 12th straight day.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)