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Wall Street Wades Through Holiday Lull, Anticipates Inflation Data Frenzy

In the dim glow of Monday evening, U.S. stock index futures tiptoed upward, all eyes keenly fixed on upcoming interest rate hints from key inflation data expected later this week.

With Memorial Day thinning out the trading crowd, the action was sluggish. But brace yourselves: the tempo is about to pick up with a flood of pivotal economic reports, including the revised first-quarter GDP.

As of 19:06 ET (23:06 GMT), S&P 500 Futures inched up 0.1% to 5,327.75 points, Nasdaq 100 Futures edged up 0.2% to 18,918.0 points, and Dow Jones Futures nudged up 0.1% to 39,192.0 points.

Inflation Showdown on Friday

The much-anticipated PCE price index, the Federal Reserve’s inflation litmus test, is due this Friday. This reading will be a key ingredient in the Fed’s interest rate recipe and follows a chorus of Fed officials warning that persistent inflation could thwart any rate-cut dreams.

Consequently, traders are rethinking a September rate cut. The CME Fedwatch tool reveals a 50.7% likelihood of rates staying put, with a 43.6% chance of a modest 25 basis point cut.

Expectations are that Friday’s PCE data will show a cooling inflation trend, though still simmering above the Fed’s 2% annual target.

Wall Street on Record Hunt Amid Rollercoaster Rides

Tech stocks, spearheaded by darling NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), propelled the NASDAQ Composite to a record high last week, with the index notching some weekly gains.

While the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average flirted with record levels, they were tethered by losses across most other sectors, spooked by the specter of prolonged high interest rates.

High rates tarnish the allure of risky assets like equities and restrict market liquidity available for stock investments.

On Friday, the S&P 500 crept up 0.7% to 5,304.72 points, the Nasdaq soared 1.1% to a record 16,920.79 points, while the Dow remained flat at 39,069.59 points.

AliExpress Nets David Beckham as Global Ambassador to Boost International Play

AliExpress, the e-commerce wing of Chinese behemoth Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), has scored a major goal by signing former England captain and soccer legend David Beckham as its global brand ambassador.

This savvy move aims to challenge the rising global presence of PDD Holdings’ Temu and fashion upstart Shein, while countering slumping e-commerce sales in China.

Alibaba’s international division, including AliExpress, saw revenues rocket 45% year-on-year in Q1 2024 to 27.45 billion yuan, outpacing domestic-focused siblings like Tmall and Taobao.

AliExpress is also set to sponsor the UEFA Euro 2024 soccer tournament this summer, planning to splash out millions on deals and discounts to woo online shoppers. Among the goodies, lucky AliExpress app users might snag tickets to the matches.

Launching on Monday, AliExpress will unveil an ad campaign starring Beckham, encouraging buyers to “score more” with the platform.

As the barbecue smoke clears and the last of the Memorial Day potato salad is devoured, investors shake off their long weekend haze and turn their gaze to the stock market. It’s a bit like diving into a pool after a holiday picnic—refreshed and ready, but cautious of any surprises lurking beneath the surface. With a slew of economic data set to splash in, it’s time to see if their portfolios will make a big splash or just a gentle ripple. So, grab your sunscreen and your financial forecasts; post-Memorial Day investing is officially in season!