By Peter Nurse
Investing.com -- U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Monday, continuing the positive tone seen at the end of last week after the December jobs report raised hope that inflation may have peaked.
The three main indices closed sharply higher Friday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 700 points, or 2.1%, the broad-based S&P 500 gaining 2.3%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surging 2.6% higher.
This, along with data showing the first contraction in U.S. services industry activity in more than 2½ years, heightened hopes that the Federal Reserve could again slow the pace of its interest rate hikes when it next meets in February.
The economic data slate is largely empty Monday, but the U.S. consumer price index for December is due on Thursday and could well help determine the size of the Federal Reserve’s next interest-rate increase.
The headline annual figure is seen rising 6.5%, down from 7.1% the previous month, with the monthly number climbing just 0.1%. The core CPI number, which excludes food and energy, is projected to have risen 0.3% on the month in December, an annual rise of 5.7%.
Thursday’s figures will be some of the last inflation indicators officials will see before the Fed policy-setting meeting from Jan. 31-Feb. 1.
In the corporate sector, a number of companies are due to start reporting fourth-quarter earnings in the coming week, with the banking sector in particular focus - Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ), Citigroup (NYSE: C ), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ), and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) are all due to report on Friday.
Oil prices rose Friday, helped by the news of the reopening of China’s borders, for the first time in three years, boosting the outlook for fuel demand growth in the world’s largest crude importer.
Adding to the positive sentiment was the news of a ship running aground in the Suez Canal Authority. Although the Liberian-flagged vessel was quickly refloated, minor delays were still to be expected and these could have a small impact on global trade flows.
Both contracts tumbled more than 8% last week, their biggest weekly declines at the start of a year since 2016, on global recession concerns.
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