Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday after showing a lack of direction over the course of the two previous sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 82 points.
Traders may look to resume the markets’ recent run to record highs after seemingly taking a breather for two straight days.
The markets may continue to benefit from upward momentum amid optimism about additional stimulus and largely upbeat earnings news.
A slowdown in the rate of coronavirus infections and accelerated vaccine rollouts may also generate continued buying interest.
Nonetheless, traders may be somewhat reluctant to make substantial moves amid concerns the markets are becoming overbought.
The futures remained positive following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing jobless claims decreased from an upwardly revised level but came in above estimates.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 793,000 in the week ended February 6th, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 812,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 757,000 from the 779,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Traders have recently looked at disappointing jobs data as a positive, as it is expected to put increased pressure on lawmakers to pass more stimulus.
Following the lackluster performance seen on Tuesday, stocks continued to show a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages hit new record intraday highs in early trading but spent the rest of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Eventually, the major averages ended the day mixed, with the Dow inching up to a new record closing high. The Dow rose 61.96 points or 0.2 percent to 31,437.80, while the Nasdaq fell 35.16 points or 0.3 percent to 13,972.53 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.35 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,909.88.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, with several major markets closed for holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose b0.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped by 0.1 percent.
Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day, with the pan-European STOXX 600 Index rising by 0.4 percent. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are lingering near the unchanged line.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.31 to $58.37 a barrel after rising $0.32 to $58.68 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $5.20 to $1,842.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $2.60 to $1,845.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 104.66 yen versus the 104.59 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2144 compared to yesterday’s $1.2118.
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