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Consumer prices, jobless claims, Treasury budget: 3 things to watch

Consumer prices, jobless claims, Treasury budget: 3 things to watch
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By Liz Moyer

Investing.com — Stocks surged on Wednesday as investors placed their bets on a slower pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The market expects the Fed will raise rates again in February but by a quarter of a percentage point, which is less than the half-percentage point increase in December and the even larger hikes at each of the four meetings before that.

The Fed has signaled it isn’t done with its job of taming inflation. The December consumer price index is due out Thursday morning and will give the policy makers another tool to measure their progress. But forecasts are calling for a slowing economy this year and rising unemployment, the necessary effects of raising rates to get prices under control.

Later this week, big banks will kick off a wave of earnings reports from S&P 500 companies. Rising rates benefit banks because they make more money off loans. But banks are also dealing with a slump in deal-making activity that will weigh on their results, and analysts will be listening to what bankers say about the prospects for loan quality if the economy does tip into a recession.

After that will come a wave of big tech earnings and then retail earnings. Investors will be looking for signs that things will start turning the corner this year, listening closely to the outlook for revenue, profit margins, and costs.

Here are three things that could affect markets tomorrow:

1. Consumer prices

The consumer price index for December is due out at 8:30 ET (13:30 GMT). Analysts expect it to rise 6.5% from a year ago, down from the 7.1% pace the prior month. For the month, inflation is expected to remain flat. Core CPI, which excludes food and fuel prices, is expected to read 5.7%, compared with the 6% the month before. For the month, core CPI is seen rising 0.3% compared with 0.2% in November.

2. Jobless claims

Another economic data point due out at the same time on Thursday is jobless claims for last week. Analysts expect to see 215,000 initial jobless claims, which would be up from 204,000 the prior week.

3. Treasury budget

The Treasury budget due out at 14:00 ET is expected to show a deficit of $70 billion, according to analysts.

Source: Investing.com

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