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U.S. Stocks May See Initial Weakness Ahead Of Powell Testimony

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Stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Wednesday after ending the previous session little changed. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 91 points.

Renewed uncertainty about a potential U.S.-China trade deal may weigh on the markets after President Donald Trump failed to offer many details about the trade talks in a speech on Tuesday.

In remarks at the Economic Club of New York, Trump claimed the Chinese are "dying to make a deal" and an agreement is "close," although investors had been hoping for more substantive comments.

The president said a significant phase one trade deal with China "could happen soon" but stressed that he would only accept an agreement that is good for U.S. companies and workers.

Trump later denied that his trade war with China is hurting industry or causing uncertainty and threatened further increases in tariffs if a deal is not reached.

Early trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders wait for congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Traders are likely to keep a close eye on Powell's testimony before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee for clues about the outlook for interest rates.

Trump renewed his attacks on the Fed during his remarks on Tuesday, claiming the economy and the markets would be even stronger if the central bank would take his advice and slash interest rates further.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing consumer prices rose by slightly more than anticipated in the month of October.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in October after coming in unchanged in September. Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices edged up by 0.2 percent in October after a 0.1 percent uptick in September. The uptick in core prices matched economist estimates.

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday, extending the lackluster performance seen over the two previous sessions. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the session at new record closing high.

While the Nasdaq rose 21.81 points or 0.3 percent to 8,486.09 and the S&P 500 edged up 4.83 points or 0.2 percent to 3,091.84, the Dow ended the day unchanged at 27,691.49.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 1.8 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are down by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.27 to $56.53 a barrel after edging down $0.06 to $56.80 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,462.50, up $8.80 compared to the previous session's close of $1,453.70. On Tuesday, gold fell $3.40

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 108.78 yen compared to the 109.01 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1005 compared to yesterday's $1.1009.

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