Stocks May Move To The Upside In Early Trading

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks may move to the 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.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes as traders digest the latest batch of earnings news as well as several U.S. economic reports.

A report recently released by the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than anticipated in the week ended April 29th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 238,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 257,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 247,000.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department released a separate report showing an unexpected drop in labor productivity in the first quarter along with a bigger than expected jump in unit labor costs.

The Labor Department said productivity fell by 0.6 percent in the first quarter after surging up by a revised 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected productivity to come in unchanged.

The report also said unit labor costs spiked by 3.0 percent in the first quarter following a revised 1.3 percent increase in the fourth quarter. Unit labor costs had been expected to climb by 2.5 percent.

Separately, the Commerce Department released a report showing that the trade deficit was little changed in March amid drops in both imports and exports.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $43.7 billion in March from a revised $43.8 billion in February. The trade deficit had been expected to widen to $44.5 billion.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is due to release a separate report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of March. Factory orders are expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on developments in Washington, as House Republicans prepare to vote on a revised…

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