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U.S. Stocks May Open Modestly Higher Amid Light Trading

wallstreet oct26 24dec20 lt

Stocks may move modestly higher in early trading on Thursday, although activity is likely to be subdued during a holiday-shortened session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 44 points.

The markets may benefit from recent upward momentum, which propelled the major averages to new record highs last week.

Reports the U.K. and the European Union are closing in on a post-Brexit trade agreement may also generate early buying interest along.

The rollout of coronavirus vaccines has also propped up hopes that the economic recovery can gain momentum next year.

Nonetheless, many traders are likely to remain on the sidelines ahead of the Christmas weekend, with the markets scheduled to close at 1 pm ET.

Stocks moved higher for much of the trading session on Wednesday before coming under pressure going into the close. The major averages showed notable moves to the downside, but the Dow and the S&P 500 managed to remain in positive territory.

The major averages eventually ended the session mixed. While the Nasdaq fell 36.80 points or 0.3 percent to 12,771.11, the Dow rose 114.32 points or 0.4 percent to 30,129.83 and the S&P 500 inched up by 2.75 points or 0.1 percent to 3,690.01.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day, with the German markets closed for the holidays. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.31 to $47.81 a barrel after jumping $1.10 to $48.12 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $7.80 to $1,878.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $0.40 to $1,878.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 103.67 yen versus the 103.57 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2193 compared to yesterday's $1.2187.

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