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U.S. Stocks May Move Modestly Higher In Early Trading

wallstreet oct05 30dec19 lt

Following the lackluster performance seen last Friday, stocks may move modestly higher in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 27 points.

The markets may continue to benefit from recent upward momentum, which has helped propel stocks to new record highs despite a lack of major catalysts.

Stocks have trended higher throughout much of the past month, as traders express optimism about a phase one U.S.-China trade deal.

Trading activity is likely to remain relatively subdued, however, as the upcoming New Year's Day holiday is likely to keep some traders on the sidelines.

Just after the start of trading, MNI Indicators is scheduled to release its report on Chicago-area business activity in the month of December.

The Chicago business barometer is expected to inch up to 48.0 in December from 46.3 in November, although a reading below 50 would still indicate a contraction.

The National Association of Realtors is due to release a separate report on pending home sales in the month of November. Pending home sales are expected to climb by 1.1 percent in November after slumping by 1.7 percent in October.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

Stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading session on Friday as many traders remained away from their desks following Christmas. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing mixed.

While the Dow and the S&P 500 crept up to new record closing highs, the Nasdaq edged down 15.77 points or 0.2 percent to 9,006.62. The Dow edged up 23.87 points or 0.1 percent to 28,645.26 and the S&P 500 inched up 0.11 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,240.02.

For the holiday-interrupted week, the Nasdaq advanced by 0.9 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed by 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while China's Shanghai Composites Index jumped by 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.38 to $62.10 a barrel after inching up $0.04 to $61.72 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,514.90, down $3.20 from the previous session's close of $1,518.10. On Friday, gold rose $3.60.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.21 yen compared to the 109.44 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1186 compared to last Friday's $1.1177.

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