After moving higher for three consecutive sessions, stocks may give back some ground in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 134 points.
Traders may look to cash in on some of the recent strength in the markets, which saw stocks recover strongly from the post-Thanksgiving sell-off triggered by the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
With concerns about the impact of the Omicron variant easing, traders are now looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement next week.
Reports suggest the Fed could decide to double the pace of tapering its asset purchase program to $30 billion per month.
A report on consumer price inflation due to be released on Friday could impact the outlook for Fed policy, leading some traders to look for safe havens ahead of the data.
The Labor Department released a report this morning showing first-time claims pulled back by much more than expected in the week ended December 4.
The report said initial jobless claims slid to 184,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 227,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 215,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 182,000 in September of 1969.
Stocks turned in a lackluster performance for much of the trading session on Wednesday but managed to end the day mostly higher. The uptick on the day extended the substantial rally seen during trading on Monday and Tuesday.
The major averages all finished the session in positive territory, although the Dow inched up just 35.32 points or 0.1 percent to 35,754.75. The Nasdaq climbed 100.07 points or 0.6 percent to 15,786.99 and the S&P 500 rose 14.46 points or 0.3 percent to 4,701.21.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has dipped by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.4 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slumping $0.96 to $71.40 a barrel after rising $0.31 to $72.36 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after inching up $0.80 to $1,785.50 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $7.10 to $1,778.40 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.36 yen versus the 113.67 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1312 compared to yesterday’s $1.1343.
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