U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction Ahead Of Powell Remarks
After ending the previous session sharply lower, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by less than a tenth of a percent.
Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later this afternoon.
Powell is scheduled to participate in a discussion on the economic outlook before an Economic Club of New York luncheon.
Treasury yields are seeing further upside ahead of Powell’s remarks, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note climbing to a new sixteen-year high.
The futures remained little changed following the release of a Labor Department report showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly declined to a nearly nine-month low in the week ended October 14th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 198,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 211,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 212,000 from the 209,00 originally reported for the previous week.
With the unexpected dip, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 194,000 in the week ended January 21st.
Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is due to release its report on existing home sales in the month of September.
Existing home sales are expected to decrease to an annual rate of 3.89 million in September from a rate of 4.04 million in August.
The Conference Board is also scheduled to release its report leading economic indicators in the month of September. The leading economic index is expected to fall by 0.4 percent in September, matching the drop seen in August.
U.S. stocks turned in a weak performance on Wednesday, drifting lower and lower as the session progressed amid rising tensions in the Middle East and higher bond yields on concerns about the outlook for interest rates.
The major averages all ended notably lower, with the Nasdaq suffering a more pronounced loss. The Dow ended down 332.57 points or 1.0 percent at 33,665.08. The S&P 500 finished lower by 58.60 points or 1.3 percent at 4,314.60, while the Nasdaq dropped 219.44 points or 1.6 percent to 13,314.30.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.5 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has slumped by 1.0 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.66 to $87.66 a barrel after jumping $1.66 to $88.32 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after surging $32.60 to $1,968.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $2.80 to $1,965.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 149.81 yen versus the 149.93 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0571 compared to yesterday’s $1.0536.
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