U.S. Stocks May Show A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading
After trending higher over the past several sessions, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the market, with the Dow futures down by just 3 points.
Uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets may keep some traders on the sidelines after the major averages once again reached new record closing highs on Wednesday.
Traders also continue to digest the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy announcement, with the central bank announcing plans to scale back its asset purchases but signaling it won’t be in a hurry to begin raising interest rates.
However, it is worth noting, stocks have started out the past several sessions on a lackluster note before moving higher over the course of the session.
A batch of largely positive earnings news has contributed to the recent upward momentum on Wall Street despite lingering concerns about inflation and supply chain issues.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing another modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 30th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 269,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 283,000.
Economists had expected initial jobless claims to edge down to 277,000 from the 281,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims decreased for the fifth straight week, once again falling to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened much more than expected in the month of September.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $80.9 billion in September from a revised $72.8 billion in August.
Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $74.1 billion from the $73.3 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The wider than expected trade deficit came as the value of exports tumbled by 3.0 percent to $207.6 billion, while the value of imports rose by 0.6 percent to $288.5 billion.
Stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, as traders reacted positively to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement. With the continued upward move, the major averages once again reached new record closing highs.
The major averages all closed in positive territory after a strong move to the upside late in the session. The Dow rose 104.95 points or 0.3 percent to 36,157.58, the Nasdaq jumped 161.98 points or 1 percent to 15,811.58 and the S&P 500 climbed 29.92 points or 0.7 percent to 4,660.57.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has risen by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.4 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.72 to $82.58 a barrel after plummeting $3.05 to $80.86 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after tumbling $25.50 to $1,763.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are spiking $25.80 to $1,789.70 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.97 yen versus the 114.01 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1560 compared to yesterday’s $1.1612.
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