Morning Briefing: Inflation … Inflation … Inflation !!!

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Monday on optimism around China reopening its borders, while signs of cooling in the labor market boosted bets of a slower pace of rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

After being clobbered in 2022 by the Fed’s fastest pace of rate hikes since the 1980s, Wall Street ended the previous week on an upbeat note after data showed a smaller-than-expected rise in average earnings in December as well as a decline in U.S. services activity.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq snapped four weeks of declines on Friday as investors hoped signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economy could allow the Fed to take a less hawkish stance on future monetary policy tightening.

A key inflation report due on Thursday will provide further cues on the state of price pressures and the outlook for interest rates.

The U.S. Labor Department’s consumer prices index (CPI) report is expected to show prices increased by 6.5% year-on-year in December, moderating from a 7.1% rise in November.

Meanwhile in Mexico, headline inflation ended 2022 slightly below analysts’ expectations, while core inflation finally appeared to have peaked, data from the national statistics agency showed on Monday.

Annual headline inflation in December reached 7.82%, up moderately from 7.80% in November, but still below the record 8.70% reached in August and September. (MXCPIA=ECI)

Meanwhile the core index, which strips out some volatile food and energy prices, hit 8.35% on an annual basis in December, dropping from November’s 8.51%, and the first slowdown since its stubborn upwards cycle began. (MXCCPI=ECI).

Also, Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company owned by Warren Buffett, has sold 1.058 million Hong Kong-listed shares of electric vehicle maker BYD at an average price of HK$191.44 ($24.52) per share, a stock exchange filing showed.

The sale lowered Berkshire’s holdings in BYD’s total issued H-shares to 13.97% on Jan. 3 from 14.06%, a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange showed on Monday. (Source: Reuters)

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