Futures inch up ahead of economic data, Gap slumps on outlook cut

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday ahead of data which will likely offer clues on U.S. consumer spending strength against the backdrop of red-hot inflation, while shares of Gap slumped after the retailer slashed its annual forecast.

FILE PHOTO: The sign for a Gap store is seen on 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan in New York June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Commerce Department’s report at 08:30 a.m. ET is expected to show consumer spending rose 0.7% in April, easing from a stronger 1.1% in March, as inflation stays hot in the wake of higher fuel and food prices.

Another set of numbers is likely to show the core personal consumption expenditures price index gained 0.3% last month, after climbing at the same pace in March.

Wall Street’s main indexes closed sharply higher on Thursday after some optimistic retail earnings outlook, mixed economic data and less-hawkish minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting brought back buyers into the market on waning concerns about aggressive interest rate hikes.

The three major indexes are on track to snap their longest weekly losing streaks in decades. The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chip Dow have gained more than 4% each so far this week, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3.4%.

All three of them are tracking their best weekly gain since mid-March.

At 06:25 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 33 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 12 points, or 0.3%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 57.25 points, or 0.47%.

Gap Inc slumped 19.1% in premarket trading after the clothing retailer posted a much wider-than-expected quarterly loss and slashed its annual results forecast due to weak demand in the face of decades-high inflation.

Costco Wholesale Corp slipped 2% after the membership-only retailer reported a fall in gross margins, hit by soaring freight and labor costs across the United States.

Dell Technologies Inc jumped 12.4% after it posted upbeat quarterly profit and revenue, as enterprises invested heavily to support hybrid work.

The CBOE volatility index fell for the third straight session and was last at 27.18 points.

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