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U.S. Stocks May Extend Recent Upward Trend

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Reflecting recent upward momentum, stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 84 points.

The markets may continue to benefit from renewed optimism about the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates as soon as its next meeting later this month.

Congressional testimony from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicating crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have continued to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook helped spark the resurgence in optimism about a rate cut.

Powell's remarks have triggered an upward trend on Wall Street that lifted the Dow above the 27,000 level for the first time ever.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders brace for the unofficial start of earnings season next week.

Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), JPMorgan (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), IBM (IBM), Netflix (NFLX), Microsoft (MSFT), and American Express (AXP) are among the slew of companies due to report their quarterly results.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Labor Department showing U.S. producer prices unexpectedly edged higher in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand inched up by 0.1 percent in June, matching the uptick seen in May. Economists had expected producer prices to come in unchanged.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices climbed by 0.3 percent in June after rising by 0.2 percent in May. Core prices had been expected to show another 0.2 percent increase.

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday before eventually ending the day mixed. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs, with the Dow closing above 27,000 for the first time ever.

While the Dow jumped 227.88 points or 0.9 percent to 27,088.08 and the S&P 500 rose 6.84 points or 0.2 percent to 2,999.91, the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down 6.49 points or 0.1 percent to 8,196.04.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets have also shown modest moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.09 to $60.29 a barrel after slipping $0.23 to $60.20 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after falling $5.80 to $1,406.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $0.20 to $1,406.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.24 yen versus the 108.50 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1243 compared to yesterday's $1.1254.

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