U.S. Stocks May Show A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading

Following the rally seen in the previous session, stock futures are pointing to a mixed performance in early trading on Thursday. The Dow futures are currently down by 54 points, while the Nasdaq futures are up by 58 points.

Tech stocks may extend the strong rebound seen on Wednesday, which came on the heels of a substantial three-day sell-off.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) are seeing notable strength in pre-market trading, and the tech giant has been a key driver of the sector over the past several days.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, however, as traders express some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent volatility.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits came in unchanged in the week ended September 5th.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 884,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 846,000 from the 881,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed producer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the month of August.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand rose by 0.3 percent in August after climbing by 0.6 percent in July. Economists had expected prices to edge up by 0.2 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices increased by 0.4 percent in August following a 0.5 percent advance in July. Core prices were also expected to tick up by 0.2 percent.

Stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Wednesday, regaining ground following the sell-off seen over the three previous sessions. The major averages all climbed firmly into positive territory but remain well off their recent highs.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels going into the close but held on to strong gains. The Dow jumped 439.58 points or 1.6 percent to 27,940.47, the Nasdaq soared 293.87 points or 2.7 percent to 11,141.56 and the S&P 500 surged up 67.12 points or 2 percent to 3,398.96.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.54 to $37.51 a barrel after jumping $1.29 to $38.05 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $11.70 to $1,954.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $9.20 to $1,964.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 106.03 yen versus the 106.18 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1889 compared to yesterday’s $1.1803.

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