Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 107 points.
Lingering concerns about the outlook for monetary policy may weigh on the markets following the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting earlier this week.
The Fed minutes indicated most officials were in favor of beginning to scale back the central bank’s asset purchase program later this year.
However, there was some disagreement about the timing of tapering asset purchases, and analysts have pointed out that some disappointing economic data has been released since the July meeting.
Uncertainty about the outlook for monetary policy may lead traders to keep a close eye on upcoming economic data ahead of the Fed’s next meeting in September.
Unfortunately, there is no major U.S. economic data scheduled to be released today, potentially leading to a light trading day.
After pulling back sharply during trading on Tuesday and Wednesday, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Thursday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the day mixed.
While the Dow edged down 66.57 points or 0.2 percent to 34,894.12, the Nasdaq inched up 15.87 points or 0.1 percent to 14,541.79 and the S&P 500 crept up 5.53 points or 0.1 percent to 4,405.80.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.8 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slumping $1.33 to $62.36 a barrel after plunging $1.77 to $63.69 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after edging down $1.30 to $1,783.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $5.20 to $1,788.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.72 yen versus the 109.74 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1671 compared to yesterday’s $1.1675.
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