With traders expressing caution ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 43 points.
Uncertainty about what Bernanke will say at the Kansas City Fed's Jackson Hole symposium on Friday may help to drag stocks lower, with some traders looking to safe havens ahead of the Fed Chief's remarks.
Many traders expect Bernanke to make comments indicating whether the central bank will engage in another round of quantitative easing.
The downward momentum for the markets also comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims unexpectedly came in unchanged in the week ended August 25th.
The report said initial jobless claims came in at 374,000, unchanged compared to the previous week's revised figure. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 370,000 from the 372,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that personal income rose by 0.3 percent in July, matching the increases seen in the two previous months. The increase also came in line with economist estimates.
The report also showed that personal spending increased by 0.4 percent in July after coming in flat in June. The spending growth also matched the expectations of economists.
Among individual stocks, shares of Ciena (CIEN: Quote) are likely to come under pressure in early trading after the network equipment maker reported a wider than expected third quarter loss and provided disappointing guidance. Ciena is down by 11.7 percent in pre-market trading.
Retailer Sears Holdings (SHLD: Quote) could also come under pressure after Standard & Poor's announced that the company's stock will be removed from the S&P 500 after the close of trading next Tuesday. Sears will be replaced by LyondellBasell Industries (LYB: Quote).
On the other hand, shares of Pandora Media (P: Quote) are likely to move to the upside after the internet radio company reported better than expected second quarter results and raised its full-year guidance.
Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, extending the lackluster performance seen in the two previous sessions. The choppy trading came despite the release of a batch of relatively upbeat economic data.
The major averages eventually ended the session slightly higher. The Dow inched up 4.49 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 13,107.48, the Nasdaq rose 4.05 points or 0.1 percent to 3,081.19 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.19 points or 0.1 percent to 1,410.49.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dropped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 1.2 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.15 to $95.34 a barrel after falling $0.84 to $95.49 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, gold futures, which dipped $6.70 to $1,663 an ounce in the previous session, are climbing $2.30 to $1,665.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 78.53 yen compared to the 78.70 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2548 compared to yesterday's $1.2531.
| || |
| To receive FREE breaking news email alerts for Ciena Corp. and others in your portfolio|
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com