Stocks may move modestly higher in early trading on Thursday after showing a significant recovery over the course of the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a moderately higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 36 points.
The upward momentum for the markets comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a modest decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended May 19th.
The report showed that jobless claims edged down to 370,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 372,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 371,000 from the 370,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a modest rebound in durable goods orders in the month of April.
Durable goods orders crept up by 0.2 percent in April after tumbling by 3.7 percent in March. The steep drop reported for March reflected a revision from the 4.2 percent decrease that had been reported previously.
Excluding a 2.1 percent increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders fell by 0.6 percent in April compared to a 0.8 percent decrease in March.
The markets may also benefit from a positive reaction to quarterly results from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), with the PC giant surging up by 8.1 percent in pre-market trading.
After the close of trading on Wednesday, HP reported better than expected second quarter results and raised its full year adjusted earnings guidance. The company also announced a multi-year restructuring plan that includes the elimination of about 27,000 jobs.
Nonetheless, buying interest is likely to be relatively subdued amid lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe. A disappointing report on Chinese manufacturing activity may also help to limit any upside for the markets.
After showing a notable move to the downside in morning trading on Wednesday, stocks staged a significant recovery over the course of the afternoon. The volatility came as traders kept a close eye on developments in Europe.
The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the Dow stuck just below the unchanged line. While the Dow edged down 6.66 points or 0.1 percent to 12,496.15, the Nasdaq rose 11.04 points or 0.4 percent to 2,850.12 and the S&P 500 crept up 2.23 points or 0.2 percent to 1,318.86.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside over the course of the trading day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are up by 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.90 to $90.71 a barrel after falling $1.95 to $89.90 a barrel on Wednesday. Gold futures, which fell $28.20 to $1,548.40 an ounce in the previous session, are rising $19.80 to $1,568.20 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 79.43 yen compared to 79.48 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2576 compared to yesterday's $1.2584.
by RTT Staff Writer
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