Futures Pointing To Modestly Higher Open On Wall Street

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, 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 S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

The markets may continue to benefit from recent upward momentum, which has seen the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 extend their winning streaks to nine and eight sessions, respectively.

The S&P 500 also ended Wednesday’s session at its best closing level in well over a month despite the choppy trading on the day.

The markets may continue to benefit from optimism about the outlook for interest rates ahead of remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

With Powell refraining from addressing monetary policy during a speech on Wednesday, his remarks during a policy panel discussion at the 24th Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference may attract increased attention.

Powell’s remarks come relatively late in the trading day, however, potentially leading to light activity for much of the session.

The Dow may receive a boost from Disney (DIS), with the entertainment giant surging by 4.1 percent in pre-market trading after reporting better than expected fiscal fourth quarter earnings.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment claims edged down from an upwardly revised level in the week ended November 4th.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 217,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 220,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 218,000 from the 217,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line after trending higher over the past several sessions.

The major averages eventually ended the session narrowly mixed. While the Dow edged down 40.33 points or 0.1 percent to 34,112.27, the Nasdaq crept up 10.56 points or 0.1 percent to 13,650.41 and the S&P 500 inched up 4.40 points or 0.1 percent to 4,382.78.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.5 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi edged up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1 to $76.33 a barrel after tumbling $2.04 to $75.33 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after falling $15.70 to $1,957.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $7.50 to $1,950.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 151.04 yen versus the 150.98 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0699 compared to yesterday’s $1.0709.

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