U.S. Stocks Poised To Add To Yesterday's Modest Gains

Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Wednesday, adding to the modest gains posted in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.5 percent.

Ongoing optimism about the outlook for interest rates may contribute to early strength on Wall Street despite conflicting remarks by Federal Reserve officials.

While Fed Governor Christopher Waller said Tuesday he is “increasingly confident that policy is currently well positioned,” Fed Governor Michelle W. Bowman said she expects further rate hikes will be needed.

Traders seem to be focusing more on the comments that reinforce expectations the Fed will leave policy unchanged until cutting rates beginning in mid-2024.

Positive sentiment may also be generated in reaction to a surge by shares of General Motors (GM), with the auto giant spiking by 9.3 percent in pre-market trading after announcing $10 billion stock buyback and increasing its dividend.

On the U.S. economic front, revised data released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy grew faster than previously estimated in the third quarter of 2023.

The Commerce Department said the jump by real gross domestic product in the third quarter was upwardly revised to 5.2 percent from the previously reported 4.9 percent. Economists had expected the pace of growth to be upwardly revised to 5.0 percent.

The faster than previously estimated growth reflected upward revisions to non-residential fixed investment and state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downward revision to consumer spending.

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Tuesday before eventually ending the day modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the Dow reached its best closing level in well over three months.

The major averages finished the day well off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Dow crept up 83.51 points or 0.2 percent to 35,416.98, the Nasdaq rose 40.73 points or 0.3 percent to 14,281.76 and the S&P 500 inched up 4.46 points or 0.1 percent to 4,554.89.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, most European stocks have moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has jumped by 1.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is nearly unchanged.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.13 to $77.54 a barrel after surging $1.55 to $76.41 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $2,042.90, up $2.90 compared to the previous session’s close of $2,040. On Tuesday, gold spiked $27.60.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 147.71 yen compared to the 147.48 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0973 compared to yesterday’s $1.0993.

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