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U.S. Stocks May Show A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading

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Following the modest pullback seen in the previous session, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by just 8 points.

Traders may stick to the sidelines as they wait for the earnings season to pick up steam being making more significant bets.

Shares of Bank of America (BAC) are moving modestly lower in pre-market trading even though the financial giant reported second quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, shares of United Airlines (UAL) may move to the upside after the airline reported better than expected second quarter results.

Traders may be looking to the release of results from companies like IBM Corp. (IBM), eBay (EBAY), and Netflix (NFLX) after the close of trading.

Honeywell (HON), Morgan Stanley (MS), UnitedHealth (UNH), Microsoft (MSFT), Capital One (COF), and American Express (AXP) are also among the companies due to report their quarterly results in the coming days.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing a bigger than expected decrease in new residential construction in the month of June.

The Commerce Department said housing starts slid by 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.253 million in June after slipping by 0.4 percent to a revised rate of 1.265 million in May.

Economists had expected housing starts to fall by 0.6 percent to a rate of 1.261 million from the 1.269 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report also unexpectedly showed a substantial pullback in building permits, an indicator of future housing demand.

Building permits plunged by 6.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.220 million in June after climbing by 0.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.299 million in May.

Economists had expected building permits to rise by 0.5 percent to a rate of 1.300 million from the 1.294 million originally reported for the previous month.

With the much steeper than expected drop, building permits fell to their lowest level since hitting a rate of 1.201 million in May of 2017.

After inching up to new record closing highs on Monday, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Tuesday before closing modestly lower.

The Dow hit a new record intraday high in morning trading but eventually ended the day down 23.53 points or 0.1 percent at 27,335.63.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq also slid 35.39 points or 0.4 percent to 8,222.80, while the S&P 500 fell 10.26 points or 0.3 percent to 3,004.04.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets are also seeing modest weakness on the day, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index all slipping by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.62 to $58.24 a barrel after tumbling $1.96 to $57.62 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, after falling $2.30 to $1,411.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $3.70 to $1,407.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.26 yen compared to the 108.24 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1213 compared to yesterday's $1.1211.

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