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

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

February 11, 2021

After ending the previous session little changed, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 49 points.

The markets may benefit from the upward momentum seen earlier in the week, which has helped stocks largely offset the steep losses posted last week.

Easing concerns about speculative trading have helped drive the markets higher along with mostly upbeat earnings news from big-name companies.

Positive sentiment may also be generated in reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing a continued decline in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 779,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 812,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 830,000 from the 847,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims dropped for the third straight week, falling to their lowest level since hitting 716,000 in the week ended November 28th.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s more closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to edge up by 50,000 jobs in January after slumping by 140,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 6.7 percent.

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 December. Factory orders are expected to increase by 0.7 percent.

After moving sharply higher early in the week, stocks showed a lack of direction during trading on Wednesday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before ended the day little changed.

The major averages finished the session on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq edged down 2.23 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 13,610.54, the Dow inched up 36.12 points or 0.1 percent to 30,723.60 and the S&P 500 crept up 3.86 points or 0.1 percent to 3,830.17.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, most European stocks have moved to the upside on the day. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.5 percent, although the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.34 to $56.03 a barrel after climbing $0.93 to $55.69 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after inching up $1.70 to $1,835.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are tumbling $22.20 to $1,812.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 105.29 yen versus the 105.03 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1985 compared to yesterday’s $1.2036.

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