Futures Pointing To Initial Strength On Wall Street

Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday after ending yesterday’s choppy session modestly lower. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.4 percent.

Traders may once again look to go bargain hunting, picking up stocks at relatively reduced levels following recent weakness in the markets.

While the major averages are positive for the week following a rally on Tuesday, they are not far off their worst levels in over a year.

Trading may once again be impacted by reaction to congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who is due to appear before the House Financial Services Committee.

Powell’s prepared remarks are likely to mirror those he delivered to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, although traders will be keeping an eye on the question-and-answer segment of his testimony.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly lower in the week ended June 18th.

The report showed initial jobless claims dipped to 229,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 231,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 227,000 from the 229,000 originally reported for the previous week.

After recovering from an early move to the downside, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing modestly lower.

The major averages finished the session well off their early lows but still in negative territory. The Dow dipped 47.12 points or 0.2 percent to 30,483.13, the Nasdaq slipped 16.22 points or 0.2 percent to 11,053.08 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.90 points or 0.1 percent to 3,759.89.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.6 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 and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.10 to $106.09 a barrel after tumbling $3.33 to $106.19 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after edging down $0.40 to $1,847.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $4.70 to $1,833.70 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 135.04 yen versus the 136.26 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0517 compared to yesterday’s $1.0566.

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