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Stocks May Open Lower As Slew Of Earnings News Looms - U.S. Commentary

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Following the long holiday weekend, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 85 points.

Trepidation ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of big-name companies in the coming days may lead to initial weakness on Wall Street.

Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG), Boeing (BA), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Intel (INTC), and Exxon Mobil (XOM) are just a few of the companies due to report their quarterly results this week.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as many traders remain away from their desks following Easter weekend.

The Easter Monday holiday that kept many overseas markets closed on the day may also keep traders on the sidelines as they wait for earnings season to pick up steam.

Nonetheless, energy stocks may benefit from a spike by the price of crude oil amid news President Donald Trump will no longer grant sanctions waivers to a handful of buyers of Iranian oil.

Not long after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of March.

Existing home sales are expected to drop by 2.3 percent in March after soaring by 11.8 percent to an eleven-month high of 5.51 million in February.

Extending the lackluster performance seen on Wednesday, stocks continued to show a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages once again spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

At the end of the day, the major averages were all in positive territory, although the Nasdaq inched up just 1.98 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 7,998.06. The Dow climbed 110.00 points or 0.4 percent to a six-month closing high of 26,559.54 and the S&P 500 rose 4.58 points or 0.2 percent to 2,905.03.

For the holiday-shortened week, the Dow advanced by 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq edged up by 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 dipped by 0.1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Monday, with several markets closed for holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets remain closed on the day for the Easter Monday holiday.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.63 to $65.63 a barrel after rising $0.24 to $64.00 a barrel last Thursday. Meanwhile, after slipping $0.80 to $1,276 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $3.30 to $1,279.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is unchanged 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 $1.1254 compared to last Thursday's $1.1245.

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