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U.S. Stock Futures Drop as Inflation Fears Rise

In late trading on Wednesday, U.S. stock index futures experienced a decline, mirroring the losses witnessed on Wall Street. This downturn came on the heels of inflation data that surpassed expectations, prompting investors to swiftly adjust their outlook, abandoning hopes for a rate cut in June.

The drop in stock markets coincided with the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, revealing the central bank’s cautious stance on inflation, a sentiment likely to be reinforced by the forthcoming consumer price index (CPI) data for March.

At 19:17 ET (23:17 GMT), S&P 500 Futures dipped by 0.25% to 5,194.25 points, while Nasdaq 100 Futures saw a similar decrease of 0.25% to 18,151.75 points. Dow Jones Futures experienced a decline of 0.26%, settling at 38,656.0 points.

The CPI data for March surpassed forecasts on Wednesday, marking the fourth consecutive month of higher-than-anticipated readings. This aligns with previous warnings from Fed officials regarding persistent inflationary pressures, suggesting any potential rate cuts in 2024 could be delayed.

Market indexes on Wall Street plummeted in response to the prospect of prolonged higher interest rates, with the technology sector particularly susceptible to profit-taking due to stretched valuations.

The S&P 500 closed nearly 1% lower at 5,160.64 points, while the NASDAQ Composite dropped by 0.8% to 16,170.36 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also experienced a decline of 1.1%, ending the session at 38,461.51 points.

Following the release of the hot CPI data and the hawkish-leaning minutes from the Fed’s March meeting, traders swiftly revised their expectations for a rate hike in June. The likelihood of the Fed maintaining rates at the current level surged to 81.8%, doubling from the previous week’s estimate of 37.1%, according to the CME Fedwatch tool. Conversely, the probability of a rate cut in June plummeted to 17.5%, down from 61.1% observed the previous week.

The Fed’s minutes indicated growing concerns among officials regarding stagnant progress in curbing inflation, suggesting the need for an extended period of higher interest rates. While no explicit calls for additional rate hikes were made, discussions around such actions were noted.

Attention now turns to the upcoming first-quarter earnings season, with Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL) already setting the stage with better-than-expected results, despite experiencing a more than 2% decline in its stock on Wednesday.

Earnings reports from Wall Street giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) are scheduled for Friday, alongside BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, which will report earnings before market opening on the same day.

Among notable post-market movers, Alpine Immune Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:ALPN) surged by 36.5% after announcing its acquisition by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:VRTX), while Vertex saw a 1% decline in its stock.

GE Aerospace Chief Commercial Officer John Slattery to Transition to Advisory Role in June

On Wednesday, CEO Larry Culp announced that John Slattery, the chief commercial officer of GE Aerospace, will be stepping down from his position in June, transitioning to an advisory role within the company. Slattery, a seasoned industry veteran hailing from Ireland, previously led the commercial arm of Brazil’s Embraer, one of the world’s top aircraft manufacturers. He joined GE in 2020, assuming leadership of its aviation business and unveiling an innovative engine concept in collaboration with France’s Safran.

With GE’s recent historic split into three separate entities, Slattery took on the role of chief commercial officer, focusing on strategic initiatives. Culp praised Slattery’s extensive industry knowledge and customer-centric approach in a LinkedIn post, highlighting his contribution to GE Aerospace’s transformation into a standalone public entity. Slattery, 55, expressed his intention to embark on a new chapter but provided no further details.

While he has been associated with potential positions at companies like Boeing or in aviation finance, his specific plans remain undisclosed. Additionally, Slattery serves as the non-executive chairman of Swedish electric airplane startup Heart Aerospace, a role he is expected to retain following his departure from GE. His exit coincides with GE’s completion of its breakup into three separate entities, marking the end of the conglomerate’s 132-year journey as a symbol of American business prowess.

Ah, Thursday, the day when even the markets start planning their weekend escapades. Investing on a Thursday is like making a strategic move in a game of financial chess—anticipating the weekend buzz and positioning yourself for the Friday frenzy. It’s like buying a ticket to the stock market rollercoaster and enjoying the ride before everyone else hops on board. So, grab your coffee, analyze those charts, and let’s make Thursday the new Friday for your portfolio. After all, who says you can’t have a little fun while chasing those gains?