U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday, the day after a report showed Americans borrowed more than ever on their credit cards in the last quarter, and a day ahead of U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation data that could influence Federal Reserve interest rate decisions.
“The markets today are just kind of waffling around. And the reason for that is tomorrow is going to be the CPI report for July being released”, said Jason Krupa, vice president of asset management at Lenox Advisors.
On Tuesday, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said U.S. credit cards debt surpassed $1 trillion, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said the U.S. central bank may be at the stage where it can leave interest rates unchanged.
“With price of oil going up, the consumer is the backbone of the economy. If they are too stretched and they stopped spending, that feeds us more into a recession narrative”, said Gina Bolvin, president of Bolvin Wealth Management Group in Boston.
Traders put the chance of no rate hike at the Fed’s next policy meeting in September at 86.5%, according to CME FedWatch Tool. Rate-sensitive megacap growth and technology stocks that have led the Wall Street rally, such as Nvidia (NVDA.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Tesla (TSLA.O), were down between 0.8% and 4.8%.
The CPI for July, due on Thursday, is expected to show a slight acceleration from last year. On a month-to-month basis, consumer prices are seen increasing 0.2%, the same as in June.