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Stocks May Add To Yesterday's Gains In Early Trading - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 28 points.

Continued optimism about trade may contribute to strength on Wall Street after reports earlier this week of another round of talks between the U.S. and China.

The markets may also benefit from tame inflation data, with a report from the Labor Department showing a much bigger than expected drop in import prices in the month of August.

The Labor Department said import prices fell by 0.6 percent in August after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in July.

Economists had expected import prices to dip by 0.2 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said export prices slipped by 0.1 percent in August after falling by 0.5 percent in July. Export prices had been expected to come in unchanged.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed retail sales increased by much less than expected in August.

The Commerce Department said retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent in August after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in July.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding the decrease in auto sales, retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in August after jumping by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in July.

Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.6 percent growth originally reported for the previous month.

Shortly before the start of trading, The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of August. Production is expected to rise by 0.3 percent in August after inching up by 0.1 percent in July.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of July not long after the open. Economists expect business inventories to climb by 0.6 percent.

Additionally, the University of Michigan is also scheduled to release its preliminary report on consumer sentiment in the month of September. The continuer sentiment index is expected to inch up to 96.6 in September from 96.2 in August.

Following the lackluster performance seen on Wednesday, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. The major averages all climbed into positive territory after ending Wednesday's trading mixed.

The Dow climbed 147.07 points or 0.6 percent to 26,145.99, the Nasdaq advanced 59.48 points or 0.8 percent to 8,013.71 and the S&P 500 rose 15.26 points or 0.5 percent to 2,904.18.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.23 to $68.82 a barrel after plunging $1.78 to $68.59 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after slipping $2.70 to $1,208.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $0.10 to $1,208.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 112.01 yen compared to the 111.92 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1680 compared to yesterday's $1.1690.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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