Futures slightly higher ahead of inflation data

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday, ahead of inflation data that will help gauge the likelihood of higher borrowing costs, one of the factors behind the selloff in recent weeks that sent the S&P to its lowest since May on Friday.

A brutal selloff this month saw Wall Street rocked by jitters over geopolitical events as well as fears over tariffs, rising wages and borrowing costs. The Dow and the S&P 500 returned to negative territory for the year on Friday.

U.S. consumer spending in September is expected to have risen 0.4 percent last month, from a 0.3 percent increase in August, data at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) is expected to show.

The so-called core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, is expected to have edged up 0.1 percent.

Relief over Italy dodging a ratings downgrade also helped U.S. stock futures reverse a decline after data showed China’s industrial profit growth slowed for fifth straight month in September, pointing to cooling domestic demand in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The slowdown in China, a major source of income for several American companies, has been a major concern this earnings season, with a slew of corporates from industrials to chipmakers giving discouraging forecasts.

While healthy third-quarter results have pushed up third-quarter profit estimates at S&P companies to 25.2 percent from 21.8 percent in the past 10 days, dour forecast have pulled down the current-quarter’s growth outlook to 19.5 percent from 19.9 percent, according to Refinitiv data.

At 7:21 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 147 points, or 0.59 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 25.5 points, or 0.96 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 90.25 points, or 1.31 percent.

Shares of IBM Corp (IBM.N) fell 3.9 percent, the most among S&P 500 components before the opening bell, after the company agreed to buy software company Red Hat Inc (RHT.N) for $34 billion. Red Hat shares soared 51.3 percent.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) rose 3.1 percent while General Motors Co (GM.N) gained 4.0 percent after Bloomberg reported China was planning to cut the tax levied on car purchases by half.

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