– US stock index futures fell slightly in evening deals on Wednesday, cooling after a recent rally on Wall Street as focus turned towards upcoming inflation data to set the stage for interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Wall Street rallied on Wednesday following positive comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who noted recent cooling in the U.S. economy and said the central bank will consider neutral rates later in 2024. 

fell 0.1% to 5,684.25 points, while fell 0.1% to 20,887.0 points by 19:06 ET (23:06 GMT). fell 0.1% to 40,019.0 points. 

CPI data awaited for more cues on interest rates

Powell reiterated that the Fed remained committed to its 2% inflation target, which put upcoming consumer price index data squarely in focus.

Data on Thursday is expected to show inflation eased slightly in June, while remained sticky. 

While Powell did note some cooling in the U.S. economy, he also warned that the Fed needed to see more evidence that inflation was easing. 

Still, the Fed Chair also said that the central bank did not need to see inflation falling below 2% to begin cutting interest rates. Powell also said he continues to see a soft landing for the economy, sparking some optimism on Wall Street. 

Wall St rallies on rate cut hopes, tech gains 

U.S. stock indexes were encouraged by Powell’s comments, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite surging to record highs on Wednesday.

Gains in heavyweight technology stocks were the biggest drivers of the rally on continued hype over artificial intelligence, although non-tech stocks also advanced.

Energy stocks were boosted by gains in oil prices, as data showed a sustained draw in U.S. inventories. 

The rose 1% to 5,633.91 points, while the surged 1.2% to 18,645.97 points, with both indexes ending at record highs. The rose 1.1% to 39,721.36 points, remaining within sight of a record peak reached earlier this year.

Costco, WD-40 advance in afterhours trade

Among major aftermarket movers, supermarket chain Costco Wholesale Corp (NASDAQ:) rose 3% after it announced plans to increase annual membership fees.

Chemicals firm WD-40 Company (NASDAQ:) surged 9% after clocking strong quarterly earnings, while aluminum giant Alcoa Corp (NYSE:) rose 2.5% after also clocking strong earnings. Alcoa’s results usually mark the beginning of the quarterly earnings season, with several major banks set to report on Friday.

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