U.S. stock index futures steadied in evening deals on Tuesday after an artificial intelligence-fueled rally put Wall Street at new highs, with focus turning to the Federal Reserve and upcoming inflation data.

Hype over AI remained a key point of support for markets after Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI to roll out AI features. This optimism also spilled over into aftermarket trade after Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) announced partnerships with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), OpenAI and Alphabet Inc’s Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google for more cloud capacity to power AI.

Still, broader gains were held back by anticipation of more cues on U.S. interest rates later on Wednesday.

S&P 500 Futures rose 0.1% to 5,386.50 points, while Nasdaq 100 Futures rose 0.1% to 19,265.75 points. Dow Jones Futures steadied at 38,788.0 points by 19:14 ET (23:14 GMT).

Fed meeting, CPI data due on Wednesday
Market focus was squarely on the conclusion of a two-day Fed meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is widely expected to keep interest rates steady.

But markets were somewhat optimistic about the Fed flagging potential rate cuts, especially after its peers, particularly the European Central Bank, began trimming rates earlier in June.

Still, general consensus is that the Fed will only begin cutting rates by September, as the U.S. labor market remains strong and inflation expectations buoyant.

Before the rate decision, consumer price index data for May is expected to offer more cues on inflation.

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The reading is also due on Wednesday, and is expected to show inflation remained sticky in May, and well above the Fed’s 2% annual target range.

Sticky inflation diminishes the chances of rate cuts by the Fed, while the prospect of high for longer U.S. rates presents a constrained outlook for stock markets.

S&P 500, Nasdaq at record highs on AI hype
The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite finished at record highs on Tuesday, driven chiefly by technology stocks amid persistent hype over AI. Apple Inc rallied over 7% to a record high after announcing its new AI features, while Microsoft and Alphabet added about 1% each.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to end at 5,375.32 points on Tuesday, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.9% to 17,343.84 points. But the more economically sensitive Dow Jones Industrial Average continued to lag its peers, falling 0.3% to 38,747.42 points.

Gains in most tech stocks did not extend into aftermarket trade.

But Oracle surged nearly 9% after the bell on its new AI partnerships, which largely overshadowed disappointing quarterly earnings from the company.

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