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Wall Street Cautious Ahead of Key Inflation Data, Fed’s Policy Path

2 months ago

As Wall Street braces for a pivotal inflation reading that could shape the Federal Reserve’s strategy on monetary policy, the mood among investors remains cautiously optimistic. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic’s remarks on Thursday emphasized the robustness of the US labor market and economy, indicating that there’s no urgency to implement interest rate cuts.

The recent decline in retail sales has helped alleviate concerns among investors regarding potential overheating in consumer demand, particularly following heightened anxiety sparked by a strong inflation report earlier in the week. The market has been navigating conflicting economic narratives for months, with progress toward curbing inflation suggesting room for Fed rate cuts from multiyear highs to prevent a recession. However, the economy’s resilience, surpassing expectations, has provided the central bank with justification for postponing such actions.

While affirming confidence in the US economy,  analysts suggest reducing exposure to US equities and diversifying investments into regions like Asia to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities elsewhere. Attention now turns to Friday’s producer price index (PPI), typically receiving less market focus than the consumer price index (CPI) but gaining significance in the current context.

Meanwhile, in the commodities market, oil prices remain near a three-month high amid a risk-on sentiment in broader markets and indications of OPEC+ members adhering to supply cuts, despite a cautious demand outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Gold, following gains in the previous session, maintains stability as investors await further market developments.

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