Stock Futures Flat After Consumer Spending, Inflation Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were trading little changed Thursday as investors digested a increase in consumer income and spending, and a rise in an inflation measure.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 8 points, or 2.51 points below fair value, to 16,779. S&P 500 futures were up 0.25 points, or 1.48 points below fair value, to 1,949.75. Nasdaq futures were down 2.7 points, or 0.38 points below fair value, to 3,817.5.

As expected, personal income increased by 0.4% in May. Personal spending ticked up less-than-expected by 0.2% vs. the average economist estimate of 0.4%, but was still up from April's flat reading.

The core PCE price index rose by an in-line 0.2% month over month, pushing the year-over-year index to 1.5%. These increases arrive after the recent acceleration in the Consumer Price Index.

As inflation concerns pick up, Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, acknowledged that inflationary pressure at the producer level has been, in some cases, passed on to the consumer. However, wage inflation remains dormant.

"We reiterate that until higher labor costs become a problem, the chances of the Fed's inflation target being met are still slim," Cardillo said in a note.

Jobless claims dipped by 2,000 in the week of June 21 to 312,000, vs. the consensus estimate of 310,000.

Individual companies in the spotlight Thursday include Barclays  (BCS), GoPro, Allergan (AGN), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Nike (NKE) and General Motors (GM).

Barclays committed fraud in the sale and marketing of a "dark pool," an alternative trading platform used for large stock sales, according to charges brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. GoPro, the maker of wearable sports cameras, said late Wednesday it sold 17.8 million shares at $24 each in its initial public offering of stock. Hedge fund Paulson & Co. has amassed a large stake in Allergan of more than 6 million shares and supports a deal between the Botox maker and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Bed Bath & Beyond reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that were short of analysts' expectations. General Motors told dealers in the U.S. and Canada to stop selling 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruze sedans because of a potential defect in air bags made by air bag supplier Takata.

Wall Street expects sneaker and athletic apparel maker Nike to post fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday of 75 cents a share on revenue of $7.34 billion.

Benchmark U.S. stock indices gained ground on Wednesday, taking soft domestic economic data in stride. However, while markets are up, they have yet to fully recover from geopolitical tensions in Iraq and Ukraine which spooked investors a day earlier.

Cardillo wrote that while the outlook remains positive for stocks, the chances of a summer dull trading range is likely to supersede positive second-quarter earnings in a few weeks.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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