The U.S. inflation reading for December is expected to show a 6.5% rise from a year earlier, slowing from a 7.1% year-over-year rise seen in the previous month. The December CPI will be particularly important for influencing the Fed’s decision in its upcoming meeting which concludes February 1. Fed funds futures traders see a 78% likelihood of a 25 basis point hike at its February meeting. . . .