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U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground In Early Trading

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After moving sharply higher over the past few sessions, stocks are likely to give back some ground in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 102 points.

Profit taking may contribute to early weakness on Wall Street, as some traders look to cash in on the strong upward move seen in recent days.

Lingering concerns about the coronavirus may re-emerge after traders shrugged off the worries about the outbreak to drive stocks higher.

However, the futures have climbed off their worst levels following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of January.

The Labor Department said employment jumped by 225,000 jobs in January following a revised increase of 147,000 jobs in December.

Economists had expected employment to rise by 160,000 jobs compared to the addition of 145,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate inched up to 3.6 percent in January from 3.5 percent in December. Economists had expected the employment rate to remain unchanged.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on wholesale inventories in the month of December. Wholesale inventories are expected to edge down by 0.1 percent.

The Federal Reserve is due to release its report on consumer credit in the month of December later in the day. Consumer credit is expected to climb by $15.0 billion.

After fluctuating early in the session, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday, extending a recent rally. With the continued upward move, the major averages all reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory. The Dow climbed 88.92 points or 0.3 percent to 29,379.77, the Nasdaq advanced 63.47 points or 0.7 percent to 9,572.15 and the S&P 500 rose 11.09 points or 0.3 percent to 3,345.78.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.3 percent.

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

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.60 to $50.35 a barrel after rising $0.20 to $50.95 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after climbing $7.20 to $1,570 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $1.50 to $1,571.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.78 yen versus the 109.99 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0959 compared to yesterday's $1.0981.

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