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

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Following the pullback in the previous session, stocks may move back 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 S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

Recent upward momentum may contribute to a rebound on Wall Street, with stocks extending the recovering from their June lows seen over the past two months.

Positive sentiment may also be generated in reaction to upbeat earnings news Cisco Systems (CSCO), as the networking giant is surging by 4.8 percent in pre-market trading.

The jump by Cisco comes after the company reported better than expected fiscal fourth quarter results and provided upbeat guidance for the current quarter.

Early trading may also be impacted by reaction to the latest U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department unexpectedly showing a modest pullback in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended August 13th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 250,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 252,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 265,000 from the 262,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report showing regional manufacturing activity unexpectedly returned to growth in the month of August.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current activity jumped to a positive 6.2 in August from a negative 12.3 in July, with a positive reading indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to rebound to a negative 5.0.

Looking ahead, the Philly Fed said the survey's future indexes rose slightly but continue to suggest that firms expect overall declines six months from now.

Not long after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report in existing home sales in the month of July.

Economists expect existing home sales to tumble by 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 4.98 million in July after plunging by 5.4 percent to a rate of 5.12 million in June.

The Conference Board is also due to release its report on leading economic indicators in the month of July at 10 am ET. The leading economic index is expected to decrease by 0.5 percent in July after falling by 0.8 percent in June.

After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks staged a recovery attempt in afternoon trading on Wednesday but still ended the day firmly in negative territory. The major averages all moved to the downside following the mixed performance seen on Tuesday.

The major averages pulled back well off their recovery highs going into the close. The Dow fell 171.69 points or 0.5 percent to 33,98.32, the Nasdaq tumbled 164.43 points or 1.3 percent to 12,938.12 and the S&P 500 slid 31.16 points or 0.7 percent at 4,274.04.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has risen by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.48 to $89.59 a barrel after surging $1.58 to $88.11 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after falling $13 to $1,776.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $6.40 to $1,783.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 135.08 yen versus the 135.05 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0163 compared to yesterday's $1.0180.

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