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

After ending yesterday’s lackluster session slightly lower, stocks may see further downside in early trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 0.2 percent.

Traders may look to cash in on recent strength in the markets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

With the Fed widely expected to raise interest rates by another 25 basis points, traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is indicating a 90.9 percent chance the Fed will raise rates by 25 basis points and a 59.0 percent chance the central bank will subsequently leave rates unchanged in June.

Concerns about lawmakers’ struggles to reach an agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling may also weigh on Wall Street.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the Treasury might run out of money to cover obligations as soon as June 1.

Not long after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of March. Factory orders are expected to increase by 0.8 percent in March after falling by 0.7 percent in February.

The Labor Department is also due to release its report on job openings in the month of March. Job openings are expected to dip to 9.775 million in March from 9.931 million in February.

Following the notable advance seen to close out the previous week, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout much of the trading session on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the session slightly lower. While the Dow dipped 46.46 points or 0.1 percent to 34,051.70, the Nasdaq slipped 13.96 points or 0.1 percent to 12,212.60 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.61 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 4,167.87.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid by 0.9 percent following a surprise interest rate hike.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are dipping $0.26 to $75.40 a barrel after slumping $1.12 to $75.66 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, after slipping $6.90 to $1,992.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $3.40 to $1,995.60 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 137.57 yen compared to the 137.50 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0962 compared to yesterday’s $1.0976.

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