News Column

Stocks May Continue To Benefit From Recent Upward Momentum - US Commentary

August 21, 2014

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks may see some further upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 36 points.

Recent upward momentum may continue to support the markets following the uptrend seen throughout much of the past two weeks.

The recent strength on Wall Street has seemed to defy concerns about conflicts overseas and the outlook for monetary policy, with the S&P 500 climbing back within striking distance of its record highs.

Positive sentiment may also be generated by the recent release of a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims fell by slightly more than expected in the week ended August 16th.

The Labor Department said jobless claims dropped to 298,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level of 312,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to pull back to 300,000.

Peter Boockvar, managing director at the Lindsey Group, said, "Bottom line, the song remains the same in that we keep seeing a moderation in the pace of firing's at levels last seen 8 years ago."

Trading could be impacted by the release of another batch of US economic data not long after the open, with traders likely to keep an eye on reports on existing home sales, leading economic indicators, and Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity.

Nonetheless, trading activity may be somewhat subdued as the Kansas City Federal Reserve's economic policy symposium gets underway in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak at the symposium on Friday along with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Wednesday before ending the session mostly higher. The Dow and the S&P 500 both finished the day in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq posted a modest loss.

While the Dow rose 59.54 points or 0.4% to 16,979.13, the S&P 500 moved within striking distance of a new record high by climbing 4.91 points or 0.3% to 1,986.51.

On the other hand, the Nasdaq edged down 1.03 points or less than a tenth of a % to 4,526.48 after ending the previous session at a new fourteen-year closing high.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan'sNikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9%, while Hong Kong'sHang Seng Index dropped by 0.7%.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.9%, the German DAX Index is up by 0.6% and the UK's FTSE Index is up by 0.2%.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding USD0.50 to USD92.95 a barrel after advancing USD0.59 to USD93.45 a barrel on Wednesday. Gold futures, which dipped USD1.50 to USD1,295.20 an ounce in the previous session, are tumbling USD17.40 to USD1,277.80 an ounce.

Among currencies, the US dollar is trading at 103.75 yen compared to the 102.76 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at USD1.3269 compared to yesterday's USD1.3259.

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Source: Alliance News

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