NEW YORK — Stocks are slipping as Wall Street prepares for a report on inflation that could show how realistic its hopes for easier interest rates are. The S&P 500 was 0.3% lower in early trading Monday, coming off just its third losing week in the last 19. It’s still near its all-time high set Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.6%. Tuesday’s report on prices at the consumer level could show inflation remained at 3.1% in February, if economists’ forecasts are correct. Treasury yields held relatively steady in the bond market.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Wall Street drifted lower early Monday as investors look ahead to a week flush with potential market-moving news, particularly the government’s most recent inflation reports.

Futures for the S&P 500 slipped 0.5% before the bell and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%.

With just a handful of notable companies left to report earnings this week, markets’ focus will turn to the latest inflation data coming Tuesday in the form of the government’s consumer prices report.

Taming the stubbornly high inflation that came with the post-pandemic economic rebound has been the Federal Reserve’s focus for the past two years. The Fed began its interest rate-hiking campaign began in March of 2022 with the intention of cooling a red-hot economy and job market. Eleven rate increases later, the Fed’s benchmark rate stands at a 23-year high of about 5.4%.

The economy has mostly withstood those rate increases, growing at a healthy clip despite despite the higher borrowing costs. Inflation has also retreated to more manageable levels, though not quite all the way to the Fed’s 2% target.

U.S. central bank officials projected late last year that they would cut rates three times in 2024, though in testimony to Congress last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell offered no hints about the potential timing of the cuts.

Financial markets are consumed with divining the timing of the Fed’s first cut to its benchmark rate, with Wall Street traders putting the likelihood of a rate cut in June at 69%.

Other data coming this week that could factor into the Fed’s monetary policy include a report on inflation at the wholesale level and the latest retail sales data.

Companies reporting earnings this week include software giant Oracle, which reports after the bell on Monday. Retailer Kohl’s reports Tuesday, followed by Dollar Tree Wednesday and Dollar General on Thursday.

Elsewhere, in Europe at midday Germany’s DAX gave up 0.6%, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.3% and Britain’s FTSE 100 also fell 0.6%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 2.2% to 38,820.49. The government issued revised figures showing the economy grew 0.1% in the last quarter of the year, better than the minus 0.1% reported earlier but lower than forecasts.

That means the economy is not in a technical recession, though it’s expanding at a snail’s pace.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.4% to 16,587.57 and the Shanghai Composite jumped 0.7% to 3,068.46.

China’s National People’s Congress concluded with a near unanimous show of support for the decisions set by top leaders of the ruling Communist Party.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.8% to 2,659.53 and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gave up 1.8% to 7,704.20.

In other trading early Monday, U.S. benchmark crude oil shed 40 cents to $77.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 92 cents to $78.01 a barrel on Friday.

Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined 35 cents to $81.73 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 146.70 Japanese yen from 147.07 yen. The euro ticked up to $1.0942 from $1.0941.

Bitcoin prices remained elevated early Monday at $71,674, down just slightly from all-time highs.

On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% from its all-time high set a day before. The Dow dropped 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite slid 1.2%.

Shares initially climbed after mixed data on the U.S. job market bolstered hopes that easier interest rates will arrive later this year. Later, it swung to a loss after one of the most influential stocks, Nvidia, took a rare stumble following a jaw-dropping surge that critics said was overdone.

Friday’s dip also sent the S&P 500 to a rare losing week, just its third in the last 19.



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