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Futures Pointing To Modestly Lower Open On Wall Street

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After ending the previous session little changed, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 74 points.

Lingering concerns about the impact of the Chinese coronavirus may weigh on Wall Street after contributing to a sell-off in the Asia-Pacific markets.

Despite efforts to contain the outbreak, deaths from the new coronavirus have risen to 17, with nearly 600 cases confirmed worldwide.

A negative reaction to earnings news from Procter & Gamble (PG) may also generate some selling pressure in early trading.

Shares of P&G are slumping in pre-market trading after the consumer products giant reported fiscal second quarter earnings that beat estimates but on weaker than expected revenues.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 18th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 211,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 205,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 215,000 from the 204,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Conference Board is scheduled to release its report on leading economic indicators in the month of December. The leading economic index is expected to dip by 0.2 percent.

Stocks moved higher in early trading on Wednesday but gave back ground over the course of the session to end the day little changed. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record intraday highs before pulling back near the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually finished the session mixed. While the Dow edged down 9.77 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 29,186.27, the Nasdaq inched up 12.96 points or 0.1 percent to 9,383.77 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.96 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,321.75.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw significant weakness during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 2.8 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has fallen by 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slumping $1.03 to $55.71 a barrel after tumbling $1.64 to $56.74 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after slipping $1.20 to $1,556.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $2.20 to $1,554.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.84 yen compared to the 109.57 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1090 compared to yesterday's $1.1093.

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