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

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Stocks are likely to move to the downside in early trading on Monday, adding to the modest losses posted in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 55 points.

Lingering concerns about the Federal Reserve scaling back its asset purchases may weigh on Wall Street, as last Friday's disappointing job report is not seen as likely to dissuade the central bank from tapering.

Worries about the outlook for inflation may also generate selling pressure amid a sharp increase by the price of crude oil.

Trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as some traders may be away from their desks for Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

While the stock markets will be open, banks, government offices and the bond markets will be closed for the holiday.

Following a three-day winning streak, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Friday. The major averages spent most of the session bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages finished the day in negative territory, with the Nasdaq underperforming its counterparts. While the Nasdaq fell 74.49 points or 0.5 percent to 14,579.54, the Dow edged down 8.69 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 34,746.25 and the S&P 500 dipped 8.42 points or 0.2 percent to 4,391.34.

Despite closing lower on the day, the major averages all moved to the upside for the week. The Dow jumped by 1.2 percent, the S&P 500 advanced by 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq inched up by 0.1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.6 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are spiking $2.21 to $81.56 a barrel after jumping $1.05 to $79.35 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, after slipping $1.80 to $1,757.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $1.10 to $1,756.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.20 yen versus the 112.24 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1564 compared to last Friday's $1.1569.

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