Wall Street points lower ahead of tech earnings, Fed call

Wall Street was poised to open with lower Monday as attention turns to this week’s decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates and a week heavy with big tech earnings.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials slipped 0.6% and the S&P 500 fell 0.8% before the opening bell.

New data released Friday showed that U.S. inflation continues to cool, raising hopes for a smaller, less painful increase than last year’s series of aggressive “jumbo” hikes. The measure the Fed prefers, which doesn’t count food and energy costs, was 4.4% higher in December than a year earlier. That was down from 4.7% inflation in November.

Income growth for Americans slowed in December, while consumer spending fell a bit more sharply than expected.

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Economists believe Friday’s data keeps the Fed on track to raise its key benchmark rate by 0.25 percentage points Wednesday, a step back from the its increase of 0.50 points last month and four straight hikes of 0.75 points before that.

After Pfizer, General Motors, McDonald’s and Exxon Mobil report quarterly financial results Tuesday, big tech starts rolling out earnings. Facebook parent Meta posts earnings Wednesday, followed a day later by Alphabet, Apple and Amazon.

Starbucks and Ford also post earnings this week.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 both fell 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE inched up less than 0.1%.

Reports that holiday travel during last week’s Lunar New Year festivities was nearly back to normal raised expectations that China’s economy may regain momentum faster than anticipated after it relaxed pandemic restrictions late last year.

In the first trading session after a weeklong break, the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.1% to 3,269.32. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 2.7% to 22,069.73 on heavy selling of technology shares. E-commerce giant Alibaba sank 7.1% following reports it is building a facility in Singapore that some speculated could become its global headquarters.

The company denied it was planning such a change, saying the new campus in Singapore will house regional operations with partners like Lazada. Alibaba is headquartered in the east Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Taiwan’s benchmark was lifted 3.8% by gains in TSMC, the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, which jumped 8%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2% to 27,433.40. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.3% to 2,450.65 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney shed 0.2% to 7,481.70.

India’s Sensex declined 0.4% and Bangkok’s SET edged less than 0.1% lower.

Shares in some companies in the Adani Group recovered some lost ground after recent massive losses after U.S. short-selling firm Hindenburg Research published a report alleging major problems within India’s second-largest conglomerate, which has holdings in energy, data transmission, construction and other major industries.

Its flagship, Adani Enterprises, gained 2.3%, but shares in some other Adani listed companies fell between 5% to 20%.

The Adani Group said it was considering legal action against Hindenburg following its allegations of stock market manipulation and accounting fraud.

In other trading Monday, U.S. benchmark crude lost 14 cents to $79.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $1.33 to $79.68 per barrel on Friday.

Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, gave up nine cents to $86.31 per barrel.

The dollar rose to 130.03 Japanese yen from 129.80 yen. The euro rose to $1.0900 from $1.0865.

On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 0.2%. It has rallied so far this year on the growing belief inflation is declining and might relieve pressure on the economy and markets. The Dow inched 0.1% higher and the Nasdaq gained 0.9%.

Kurtenbach reported from Bangkok; Ott reported from Washington.

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