Stocks are likely to give back some ground in early trading on Thursday after moving mostly higher over the two previous sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a notably lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 76 points.
The downward momentum for the markets comes amid continued concerns about the European debt crisis as European leaders prepare to convene a two-day summit in Brussels.
Most traders are not optimistic about the summit resulting in any meaningful developments, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already ruled out the idea of common eurozone bonds.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "Those countries in need of help will go hat in hand in a disguised way by trying to convince Germany to be the euro zone insurance company and those not in need will be looking for more central oversight of the debt/growth sinners."
Traders are also likely to keep a close eye on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is due to announce its decision regarding the constitutionality of the healthcare reform law.
The court's decision could have a significant impact on the presidential race, as the law is seen as one of President Obama's main domestic accomplishments.
Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off the Labor Department's report on initial jobless claims in the week ended June 23rd.
The report showed that jobless claims dipped to 386,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 392,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 385,000 from the 387,000 originally reported for the previous week.
"Bottom line, the jobs picture is still lackluster and certainly getting no help from the slowing global economy," Boockvar said.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that U.S. GDP increased by 1.9 percent in the first quarter, unrevised from the previous estimate and in line with the expectations of economists.
After moving mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, stocks saw some further upside during trading on Wednesday. The continued strength on Wall Street came as traders reacted positively to a batch of relatively upbeat U.S. economic data.
The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory, not far off their highs for the session. The Dow rose 92.34 points or 0.7 percent to 12,627.01, the Nasdaq climbed 21.26 points or 0.7 percent to 2,875.32 and the S&P 500 advanced 11.86 points or 0.9 percent to 1,331.85.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.7 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all showed notable moves to the downside. The French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 1.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.43 to $80.64 a barrel after advancing $0.85 to $80.21 a barrel on Wednesday. Gold futures, which rose $3.50 to $1,578.40 an ounce in the previous session, are sliding $7.40 to $1,571 announce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 79.41 yen compared to the 79.72 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2437 compared to yesterday's $1.2469.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com