U.S. Stocks May See Further Upside In Early Trading

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(RTTNews) – After ending the previous session modestly higher, stocks may see further upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 102 points.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a report from the Labor Department showing only a slight uptick in U.S. producer prices in the month of December.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged up by 0.2 percent in December after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.0 percent in November.

Economists had expected producer prices to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding food, energy and trade prices, core producer prices rose by 0.4 percent in December after climbing by 0.8 percent in November.

The report also showed the annual rate of producer growth slowed to 9.7 percent in December from a record high 9.8 percent in November. The yearly core price growth was unchanged at 6.9 percent.

Following yesterday’s report showing a slowdown in monthly consumer price growth, the data may add to optimism that inflation has peaked.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed an unexpected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 8th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 230,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 207,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 200,000.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Lael Brainard’s nomination to be Federal Reserve Vice Chair.

In prepared remarks, Brainard described as inflation as “too high” and said monetary policy will be focused on “getting inflation back down to 2 percent while sustaining a recovery that includes everyone.”

Stocks fluctuated after an early move to the upside on Wednesday but managed to finish the session modestly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher for the third straight day after hitting a nearly three-month intraday low on Monday.

The major averages closed well off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Dow inched up 38.30 points or 0.1 percent to 36,290.32, the Nasdaq edged up 34.94 points or 0.2 percent to 15,188.39 and the S&P 500 rose 13.28 points or 0.3 percent to 4,726.35.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.39 to $82.25 a barrel after jumping $1.42 to $82.64 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $8.80 to $1,827.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $7.60 to $1,819.70 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 114.26 yen versus the 114.64 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1468 compared to yesterday’s $1.1442.

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