U.S. Stocks May Show A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading

After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Tuesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by just 3.25 points.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is expected to announce plans to begin gradually scaling back its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases by mid-November or December.

The language of the Fed’s statement is likely to be in focus as traders look for clues about the outlook for interest rates amid concerns about the high rate of inflation.

A lack of major U.S. economic data may also keep traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Among individual stocks, shares of Pfizer (PFE) are likely to see initial strength after the drugmaker reported better than expected third quarter results and raised its full-year guidance.

Household products maker Clorox (CLX) may also move to the upside after reporting fiscal first quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Meanwhile, shares of DuPont (DD) are moving lower in pre-market trading after the chemical maker reported third quarter results that exceeded expectations but cut its full-year outlook.

DuPont also announced an agreement to acquire materials technology company Rogers Corp. (ROG) for $5.2 billion in cash.

Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday but managed to end the session modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the major averages all reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory. The Dow rose 94.28 points or 0.3 percent to 35,913.84, the Nasdaq climbed 97.52 points or 0.6 percent to 15,595.92 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.29 points or 0.2 percent to 4,613.67.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has slid by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.40 to $83.65 a barrel after rising $0.48 to $84.05 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, after climbing $11.90 to $1,795.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slipping $5.30 to $1,790.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.78 yen compared to the 114.00 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1602 compared to yesterday’s $1.1606.

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