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U.S. Stocks May Move To The Upside In Early Trading

wallstreet oct25 08apr21 lt

After showing a lack of direction over the two previous sessions, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 11.50 points.

The markets may benefit from the Federal Reserve's repeated assurances that monetary policy is likely to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

The minutes of the Fed's March meeting reiterated that the central bank does not intend to change its ultra-loose monetary policy anytime soon.

The Fed stressed any changes to policy will be outcome-based, indicating interest rates will remain unchanged until the goals of maximum employment and inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time are achieved.

The minutes also showed officials are not concerned about the recent increase in Treasury yields, which the Fed attributed to investor optimism about the economic outlook and expectations of higher Treasury debt issuance.

Later in the day, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to participate in a virtual International Monetary Fund debate on the global economy.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended April 3rd.

The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 744,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level of 728,000.

Jobless claims rose for the second straight week after falling to a one-year low of 658,000 in the week ended March 20th.

The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 680,000 from the 719,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Following the lackluster performance seen during trading on Tuesday, stocks continued to experience choppy trading on Wednesday. The major averages once again spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day mixed. While the Nasdaq edged down 9.54 points or 0.1 percent to 13,688.84, the Dow inched up 16.02 points or 0.1 percent to 33,446.26 and the S&P 500 rose 6.01 points or 0.2 percent to a new record closing high of 4,079.95.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Thursday, although Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are up by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.21 to $59.56 a barrel after rising $0.44 to $59.77 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after edging down $1.40 to $1,741.60 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $6.30 to $1,747.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.06 yen versus the 109.85 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1884 compared to yesterday's $1.1868.

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