Futures Pointing To Mixed Open On Wall Street

Following the late-day sell-off seen in the previous session, U.S. stock futures are currently pointing to a mixed open for the markets on Thursday. While the Dow futures are up by 96 points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are down by 57 points.

Bargain hunting may contribute to an initial rebound by the Dow after the blue chip index showed a significant turnaround in the previous session.

The Dow reached a new record intraday high in early afternoon trading on Wednesday before pulling back sharply in reaction to the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

The minutes of the Fed meeting had a hawkish tone, suggesting the central bank will more aggressive in tightening monetary policy.

In addition to raising rates more quickly than previously anticipated, the minutes also indicated the Fed plans to begin reducing its balance sheet shortly after the first rate hike.

Concerns about tighter monetary policy led to a particularly steep drop by tech stocks, which may carry over into early trading this morning.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 1st.

The report showed initial jobless claims crept up to 207,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 200,000.

The uptick came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 197,000 from the 198,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened significantly in November amid a spike in the value of imports.

Not long after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on service sector activity in the month of December.

The ISM’s services PMI is expected to drop to 66.9 in December from 69.1 in November, although a reading above 50 would still indicate growth.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of November. Factory orders are expected to jump by 1.3 percent.

With traders reacting negatively to the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, stocks moved notably lower during trading on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a particularly steep drop, extending Tuesday’s sharp pullback.

After reaching a new record intraday high, the Dow turned lower following the release of the Fed minutes, slumping 392.54 points or 1.1 percent to 36,407.11. The Nasdaq plunged 522.54 points or 3.3 percent to 15,100.17 and the S&P 500 tumbled 92.96 points or 1.9 percent to 4,700.58.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plummeted by 2.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has tumbled by 1.4 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 1.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.42 to $79.27 a barrel after advancing $0.86 to $77.85 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $10.50 to $1,825.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are plunging $37 to $1,788.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 115.79 yen versus the 116.11 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1301 compared to yesterday’s $1.1314.

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