5 things to know before the stock market opens on Thursday

  • Stock futures rose ahead of key inflation data.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Israel as the death toll rises in the conflict with Hamas.
  • Fed officials expect interest rates to remain high until inflation calms.

Here are the most important news investors need to start their trading day:

US stock futures rose on Thursday morning as investors hoped the major averages would post a fifth consecutive positive session. Inflation data, and what it portends for the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy in the central bank’s November decision, will shape markets today. The September CPI is scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect an increase of 0.3% on a monthly basis and a jump of 3.6% on a yearly basis. Investors will also be watching the war between Israel and Hamas. Follow live market updates here.

The death toll in conflict in the Middle East is rising. At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel, and more than 1,200 died in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to officials. A day after forming an emergency government, Israel said it would not lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip until hostages taken by Hamas were returned. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel on Thursday, where he intends to meet with government officials. The US State Department said that it “will discuss measures aimed at strengthening Israel’s security and affirming the United States’ steadfast support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” Follow live updates here.

House Republicans have their choice of speaker. Republican lawmakers nominated Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican of Los Angeles, for the highest position in the House, after he defeated Judiciary Committee Chairman and ultra-conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio. Scalise will now have to beat out a few opponents in the popular Republican caucus — which ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this month — to secure the position in a vote in the House, where all Democrats are likely to oppose his nomination. Voting may take place on Thursday. The vacant speaker position comes as Congress decides how to respond to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and as the United States faces a November 17 deadline to prevent a cut in government funding. “We have to get back to work today,” Scalise told reporters on Wednesday.

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Get comfortable with high interest rates. Fed officials agreed during their September meeting that interest rates should remain high until inflation approaches the central bank’s 2% target. Some policymakers disagreed about the extent to which monetary policy should be tightened to control price increases. At the meeting, where the Fed decided not to raise interest rates, a majority of officials felt another rate hike “would likely be appropriate” in the future, according to meeting minutes. The central bank has faced a difficult balancing act: it aims to reduce demand, and huge increases in the cost of rent, food and a host of other necessities, without pushing the economy into recession. At the same time, high interest rates have made borrowing more difficult for people looking for a home or car.

The United Auto Workers intensify their strike against Ford Motor Company. In a surprise move Wednesday evening, the union expanded its work stoppage to include a highly profitable SUV and truck plant in Kentucky that employs 8,700 UAW members. The UAW said it called the strike after Ford “refused to take further bargaining action,” calling the action a “new phase” in the labor movement. The union has directed targeted strikes against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, for about a month. Ford called the expansion of the strike “completely irresponsible.”

CNBC’s Hakyung Kim, Ruksandra Iordash, Spencer Kimball, Emily Wilkins, Jeff Cox and Michael Wayland contributed to this report.

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