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U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength Following Inflation Data

wallstreet sept17 10jun21 lt

After ending the previous session slightly lower, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 120 points.

The futures recently moved to the upside even though a report from the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in the month of May.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.6 percent in May after climbing by 0.8 percent in April. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.4 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices climbed by 0.7 percent in May following a 0.9 percent advance in April. Core prices were also expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

The report also showed consumer prices in May were up by 5.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting the biggest spike since August of 2008.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth also accelerated to 3.8 percent in May, which represents the biggest jump since June of 1992.

While the faster rate of inflation may lead the Federal Reserve to consider tightening monetary policy, traders remain optimistic about the economic outlook.

Adding to the positive sentiment about the economy, the Labor Department released a separate report showing another modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits.

The report showed initial jobless claims edged down to 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 385,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 370,000.

With the slight drop, jobless claims once again fell to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is just below the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.34 to $70.30 a barrel after edging down $0.09 to $69.96 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after inching up $1.10 to $1,895.50 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $7.80 to $1,887.70 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.69 yen versus the 109.63 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2191 compared to yesterday's $1.2180.

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