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Stocks May See Further Upside In Early Trading - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Wednesday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 55 points.

The markets may continue to benefit from optimism about the economic outlook after Republicans approved a massive tax reform bill last month.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on activity in the manufacturing sector in the month of December.

The ISM's purchasing managers index is expected to slip to 58.1 in December from 58.2 in November, although a reading above 50 would still indicate growth in the manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on construction spending in the month of November. Construction spending is expected to rise by 0.5 percent.

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting held in December.

The minutes of the latest Fed meeting may shed additional light on the outlook for interest rates in the new year.

Following the long, holiday weekend, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts.

While the Nasdaq soared 103.51 points or 1.5 percent to 7,006.90, the S&P 500 climbed 22.20 points or 0.8 percent to 2,695.81 and the Dow rose 104.79 points or 0.4 percent to 24,824.01.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday, although the Japanese markets remained closed. China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

European stocks have also moved mostly higher on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.5 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.47 to $60.84 a barrel after slipping $0.05 to $60.37 a barrel on Tuesday. Gold futures, which climbed $12.10 to $1,309.30 an ounce in the previous session, are increasing $4.80 to $1,314.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 112.23 yen compared to the 112.29 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2028 compared to yesterday's $1.2059.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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