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Fed’s cautious inflation tone sees futures slide

US stock index futures edged lower on Monday as hawkish comments from a US Federal Reserve official tempered hopes of a less aggressive pace of monetary policy tightening, reports Reuters. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said on Sunday that markets should now pay attention to the “endpoint” of rate increases, not the pace of each move, and the endpoint is likely “a ways off”.

The comments from Waller, a voting member of the rate-setting committee this year, follow softer-than-expected inflation data for October that led to a euphoric market rally last week, with the S&P 500 logging its biggest weekly percentage gains in about five months.

“The message is coming loud and clear from the Fed, investors should hold their horses when it comes to expectations of looser monetary policy,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Traders now expect the Fed to hike interest rates in December by a half point, and expect terminal rate in the range of 4.75%-5.0% in May 2023.

At 5:30 am ET, Dow e-minis were down 82 points, or 0.24%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 71.5 points, or 0.60%.

Growth stocks gave back some gains from last week, with Apple Inc, Intel Corp and down about 1% each in premarket trading.

Tesla Inc dropped about 2% as Chief Executive Elon Musk said “I have too much work on my plate” when asked about his recent acquisition of Twitter and his leadership of the electric-vehicle maker.

In the week ahead, investors will closely monitor a slew of economic data, including retail sales numbers on Wednesday.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met on Monday for long-awaited talks that come as relations between their countries are at their lowest in decades, marred by disagreements over a host of issues from Taiwan to trade.

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