U.S. Stocks Dip as Consumer Prices Edge Higher than Expected
U.S. stocks turned lower after consumer prices for September came in slightly higher than expected, following the trend set by producer prices earlier this week.
Consumer Prices Edge Higher
U.S. consumer prices rose slightly more than expected in September, with the index rising 0.4%, instead of the expected 0.3%. However, this still represented a drop from the prior month’s 0.6% rise. On an annual basis, the index stayed unchanged at 3.7%.
The widely-watched index, which strips out volatile items like food and energy, came in as expected at 0.3% on the month and showed a drop to 4.1% annually from 4.3% the previous month.
While the headline figure was slightly higher than expected, there had been some concern about upside potential given producer prices came in stronger than expected on Wednesday.
Fed Minutes Point to Future Caution
The main indices on Wall Street closed higher Wednesday, helped in part by the minutes from the Fed’s September meeting, which showed that officials were keen to take a cautious approach to further hikes in interest rates.
Fed policymakers agreed to “proceed carefully” on upcoming interest rate decisions, according to the minutes from their September meeting. Importantly, however, these views were recorded prior to a recent spike in Treasury yields, and Fed officials have since suggested that this increase could be seen as a form of tightening, lessening the need for more rate hikes. This view was voiced Wednesday by Fed Governor, traditionally a rate hawk, who posited that the run-up in yields may have in effect done “some of the work” of tightening financial conditions for policymakers.
Delta Air Lines Reports Quarterly Earnings
The new quarterly corporate earnings season begins to kick into gear, and Delta Air Lines is in the spotlight after the carrier reported a jump in profit of almost 60% thanks to a strong summer. However, the airline also trimmed its full-year profit outlook, citing higher fuel costs. Delta shares were flat.
Walgreens Boots Alliance fell short of profit expectations but beat on revenue for the quarter. Shares were up 1.2%. Domino’s Pizza beat on profit expectations but fell slightly short on revenue. Shares rose 3%.
Crude Rises after IEA Lifts 2023 Demand Forecast
Oil prices rose Thursday, helped by the decision of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to lift its demand forecast for this year to 2.3 million barrels a day from a prior forecast of 2.2 million, even after the sharp rise in prices.
The Paris-based organization did cut its 2024 demand growth to 880,000 barrels per day, compared with its previous forecast of 1 million barrels.
The market had fallen around 2% during the previous session after indications of a hefty rise in stocks last week raised concerns about demand at the largest consumer in the world.
U.S. crude oil stockpiles swelled by just under 13 million barrels, according to data from the industry body, which, if confirmed by the official numbers from the Energy Information Administration later in the session, would be the largest weekly crude stockpile build in eight months.