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


Following the downturn seen over the course of the previous session, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by less than a tenth of a percent.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant bets in early trading after the pullback on Tuesday erased the strong move to the upside seen early in the session.

The downturn on the day extended the downward trend for the markets seen throughout much of late March and early April, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 falling to their lowest closing levels in almost a month.

Earnings news from big-name companies like Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) that is due before the start of trading on Thursday may also keep some traders on the sidelines.

Financial giant JPMorgan Chase (JPM) released its first quarter results this morning, reporting earnings that came in below analyst estimates. Shares of JPMorgan are subsequently moving lower in pre-market trading.

Meanwhile, shares Delta Air Lines (DAL) are likely to see initial strength after the airline reported a narrower than expected first quarter loss and provided upbeat guidance.

Traders are also digesting a report from the Labor Department showing U.S. producer prices jumped by more than expected in the month of March.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand shot up by 1.4 percent in March after advancing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in February.

Economists had expected producer prices to jump by 1.1 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

With the bigger than expected monthly increase, the annual rate of producer price growth accelerated to a record high 11.2 percent in March from 10.3 percent in February.

Excluding prices for food, energy and trade services, core producer prices still climbed by 0.9 percent in March after edging up by 0.2 percent in February.

The annual rate of growth in core producer prices accelerated to 7.0 percent in March from 6.7 percent in the previous month.

After showing a significant rebound early in the session, stocks moved back to the downside over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. With the downturn on the day, the major averages added to the steep losses posted on Monday.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained in negative territory. The Dow dropped 87.72 points or 0.3 percent to 34,220.36, the Nasdaq fell 40.38 points or 0.3 percent to 13,371.57 and the S&P 500 dipped 15.08 points or 0.3 percent to 4,397.45.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.24 to $101.84 a barrel after spiking $6.31 to $100.60 a barrel a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,980.30, up $4.20 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,976.10. On Tuesday, gold jumped $27.90.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 125.82 yen compared to the 125.38 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0827 compared to yesterday’s $1.0828.

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