Slight economic optimism pushes upward on stocks 

Wall Street picked up slightly early today ahead of new U.S. inflation data that will play a role in a decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates when it meets later this month, according to the Associated Press.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials rose 0.1%, and the S&P 500 edged 0.2% higher before the opening bell.

Forecasters expect inflation in June to fall to 3.1% from the previous month’s 4%. That would be higher than the Fed’s 2% target but down sharply from last year’s peak above 9%.

It is still hoped that the U.S. can avoid a recession after a run-up in the Fed’s benchmark lending rate to cool inflation. At least a brief recession was expected starting this quarter, but the outlook is more optimistic after U.S. hiring stayed strong.

The wide expectation is for companies across the S&P 500 to report a 7.2% drop in earnings per share for the second quarter from a year earlier. That would be the biggest drop for the index since the spring of 2020.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 38 cents to $73.37 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 34 cents to $78.03 per barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 140.30 yen from Monday’s 141.32 yen.