After ending the previous session mostly lower, 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 down by just 0.1 percent.
Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s report on consumer price inflation in the month of January.
The report, which is due to be released before the start of trading on Thursday, could impact the outlook for how aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.
Treasury yields are seeing further upside ahead of the release of the report, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reaching its highest level in over two years.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit widened modestly in the month of December.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $80.7 billion in December from a revised $79.3 billion in November.
Economists had expected the trade deficit to expand to $83.0 billion from the $80.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The wider deficit came as the value of imports surged 1.6 percent to $308.9 billion, while the value of exports jumped 1.5 percent to $228.1 billion.
U.S. stocks failed to hold gains and ended on a negative note on Monday after a cautious and somewhat lackluster session. Traders remained largely reluctant to build up positions as they looked ahead to the release of the inflation data for directional clues.
Among the major averages, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed lower, while the Dow ended flat. The Dow, which climbed to 35,325.01 in the final hour, tumbled into negative territory soon thereafter, and eventually ended the session with just a small gain of 1.39 points at 35,091.13.
The S&P 500 ended lower by 16.66 points or 0.4 percent at 4,483.87, dropping from a high of 4,521.86, while the Nasdaq settled at 14,015.67, netting a loss of 82.34 points or 0.6 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.7 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has crept up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are tumbling $1.21 to $90.11 a barrel after slumping $0.99 to $91.32 a barrel on Monday. Meanwhile, after climbing $14 to $1,821.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $0.90 to $1,820.90 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 115.45 yen compared to the 115.10 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1407 compared to yesterday’s $1.1442.
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