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Futures mixed as inflation data, presidential debate in focus

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(Reuters) – U.S. index futures were mixed at the start of a week marked with a crucial inflation print and other economic data that are poised to shed further light on the monetary policy outlook, with the first U.S. presidential debate also on the watch list.

The biggest event on investors’ radar for the week is Friday’s personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index report- the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, expected to show moderation in price pressures.

Market participants are still expecting about two rate cuts this year, with the odds of a 25-basis-point cut in September standing at 60.4%, as per LSEG’s FedWatch. This comes against the backdrop of investors weighing the moderation in recent inflation data against the Fed’s latest projection of one rate cut likely in December.

The S&P 500 posted its third straight weekly gain and the blue-chip Dow recorded its strongest weekly performance in six in the previous week, which saw simultaneous expiration of stock and index derivative contracts, quarterly S&P 500 rebalancing, mixed economic data and Nvidia briefly becoming the world’s most valuable firm.

AI chip leader Nvidia slipped 1.8% premarket following a near 7% slide over the past two sessions, while other semiconductor stocks like U.S.-listed shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Arm Holdings also shed 1.6% and 2.2%, respectively.

The other events lined up for the week include durable goods, weekly jobless claims and final first-quarter GDP figures, along with some quarterly earnings from the likes of FedEx, Carnival Corp, Micron Technology and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

On the political front, President Joe Biden will debate rival Donald Trump in Atlanta on Thursday, with both neck-and-neck in national opinion polls, as a considerable slice of the electorate remains undecided over four months before the Nov. 5 vote.

At 5:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 77 points, or 0.19%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 1 points, or 0.02%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 28 points, or 0.14%.

Among major premarket movers, Under Armour dropped 3.1% after the sports apparel maker agreed to pay $434 million to settle a 2017 class action lawsuit accusing it of defrauding shareholders about its revenue growth in order to meet Wall Street forecasts.

Respiratory device maker ResMed slumped 12.5% after Eli Lilly said its popular weight-loss drug Zepbound helped resolve moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea in up to 52% of patients in two late-stage trials.

Affirm Holdings rose 4.4% after Goldman Sachs assumed coverage of the buy now, pay later firm with a “buy” rating.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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