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U.S. Stocks May Continue To Lack Direction Ahead Of Trump Speech

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Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading early on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by just 10 points.

Traders may remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of President Donald Trump's speech at the Economic Club of New York this afternoon.

Trump's remarks are likely to be closely watched for his assessment of the state of U.S.-China trade talks and signs of progress toward a phase one trade deal.

White House spokesman Judd Deere indicated Trump would tout the strength of the U.S. economy under his administration but provided few details.

"You can expect the president to highlight how his policies of lower taxes, deregulation, and fair and reciprocal trade have supported the longest economic recovery in U.S. history with record low unemployment, rising wages, and soaring consumer confidence," Deere said.

Optimism about an end to the U.S.-China trade war has contributed to recent strength on Wall Street, lifting the major averages to record highs.

Last week, U.S. and Chinese officials said the two economic superpowers had agreed to roll back existing tariffs as part of a phase one trade deal, but Trump later said he has not agreed to lift the tariffs on China.

A report from Reuters noted the idea of rolling back tariffs faces fierce internal opposition from the president's advisers.

Multiple sources familiar with the talks told Reuters the idea of a tariff rollback was not part of the original October "handshake" deal between Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

Citing current and former administration officials, Reuters said there is a divide within the administration over whether rolling back tariffs will give away U.S. leverage in the negotiations.

Stocks recovered from an initial move to the downside but showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Monday. The major averages eventually closed mixed, with the Dow inching up to a new record closing high.

While the Dow crept up 10.25 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,691.49, the Nasdaq edged down 11.04 points or 0.1 percent to 8,464.28 and the S&P 500 slipped 6.07 points or 0.2 percent to 3,087.01.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has risen by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.26 to $57.12 a barrel after falling $0.38 to $56.86 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, after sliding $5.80 to $1,457.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are dropping $5.70 to $1,451.40 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.15 yen compared to the 109.05 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1018 compared to yesterday's 1.1033.

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