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Futures Pointing To Initial Strength On Wall Street - U.S. Commentary

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After ending the previous session mostly lower, stocks may move back to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 152 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes as President Donald Trump sought to downplay concerns about an attack on Syria.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!" Trump said in a post on Twitter.

He added, "In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our 'Thank you America?'"

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first time claims for unemployment benefits decreased in the week ended April 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 233,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 242,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 230,000.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed import prices came in unchanged in March, while export prices increased by more than expected.

The Labor Department said import prices recorded no change in March after climbing by 0.3 percent in February. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said export prices increased by 0.3 percent in March after rising by 0.2 percent in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

Following the rally seen in the previous session, stocks moved back to the downside during trading on Wednesday.

The Dow slid 218.55 points or 0.9 percent to 24,189.45, the Nasdaq dipped 25.27 points or 0.4 percent to 7,069.03 and the S&P 500 fell 14.68 points or 0.6 percent to 2,642.19.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.33 to $66.49 a barrel after jumping $1.31 to $66.82 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,347.50, down $12.50 compared to the previous session's close of $1,360. On Wednesday, gold jumped $14.10.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.18 yen compared to the 106.79 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2326 compared to yesterday's $1.2367.

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