U.S. Stocks May Move Back To The Upside In Early Trading

After ending yesterday’s extremely volatile session mostly lower, stocks may move back to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.3 percent.

The futures got a boost following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. producer prices in the month of March.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand fell by 0.5 percent in March following a revised unchanged reading in February.

Economists had expected producer prices to come in unchanged compared to the 0.1 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.

The report also showed the annual rate of producer price growth slowed dramatically to 2.7 percent in March from 4.9 percent in February. Economists had expected the pace of growth to slow to 3.0 percent.

Combined with yesterday’s tamer-than-expected consumer price inflation data, the report may help ease concerns about inflation and the outlook for interest rates.

A separate Labor Department report showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended April 8th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 239,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 228,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 232,000.

Nonetheless, overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, as trades look ahead to tomorrow’s reports on retail sales and industrial production amid concerns about a potential recession.

With traders reacting to the highly anticipated consumer price inflation data as well as the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, stocks saw substantial volatility over the course of the trading session on Wednesday.

The major showed wild swings back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually closing in negative territory. The Dow edged down 38.29 points or 0.1 percent to 33,646.50, the S&P 500 fell 16.99 points or 0.4 percent to 4,091.95 and the Nasdaq slid 102.54 points or 0.9 percent to 11,929.34.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has jumped by 1.0 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.30 to $82.96 a barrel after surging $1.73 to $83.26 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after rising $5.90 to $2024.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $19.80 to $2,044.70 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 132.83 yen versus the 113.13 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1032 compared to yesterday’s $1.0992.

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