US Futures Surge in Anticipation of Crucial Inflation Data Release

US stocks surged ahead of the opening bell on Thursday, on pace for their strongest month this year, as investors continued to anticipate interest-rate cuts leading up to a key reading on consumer inflation.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures led the way with a 0.5% jump, or 180 points, while S&P 500 (^GSPC) futures rose by about 0.2%. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) also increased by nearly 0.3%.

The stock market benchmarks are approaching year-end closing highs after a substantial rally fueled by optimism that the Federal Reserve is finished with rate hikes.

This rally may face a challenge with the release of the PCE index on Thursday, which is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. Following recent data showing signs of economic resilience and cooling inflation, the October report will be closely scrutinized for further evidence to support the case for rate cuts.

Learn more: How the Fed’s pause on rate hikes affects savings accounts, loans, and credit cards

Hopes were lifted by a surprising decrease in euro zone inflation to 2.4% in November, creating uncertainty about the European Central Bank’s position on stubborn price growth.

All eyes are on the OPEC+ meeting on Thursday, which was moved online after smaller African producers resisted Saudi Arabia and Russia’s push for more supply cuts. Oil prices rose for a third consecutive day amid expectations of a potential policy agreement, with WTI (CL=F) and Brent (BZ=F) crude futures both up about 0.7%.

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