U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength Following Inflation Data

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks are likely to 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 S&P 500 futures up by 0.3 percent.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a Commerce Department report showing consumer price growth in the U.S. slowed in line with economist estimates in the month of October.

The report said the annual rate of consumer price growth decelerated to 3.0 percent in October from 3.4 percent in September. The slowdown matched expectations.

Core consumer price growth also slowed in line with estimates, slipping to 3.5 percent in October from 3.7 percent in September. Core consumer prices exclude food and energy prices.

The inflation readings, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, were included in the Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending during the month.

The report said personal income edged up by 0.2 percent in October after climbing by 0.4 percent in September. The uptick came in line with economist estimates.

Personal spending also increased in line with estimates, rising by 0.2 percent in October following a 0.7 percent advance in September.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed a modest increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 25th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims inched up to 218,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 211,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 220,000 from the 209,000 originally reported for the previous week.

After ending Tuesday’s session modestly higher, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. Despite the choppy trading on the day, the Dow inched up to its best closing level in over three months.

The major averages eventually ended the day narrowly mixed. While the Dow crept up 13.44 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 35,430.42, the Nasdaq slipped 23.27 points or 0.2 percent to 14,258.49 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.31 points or 0.1 percent to 4,550.58.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.85 to $78.71 a barrel after jumping $1.45 to $77.86 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after rising $7.10 to $2,047.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slipping $7.20 to $2,039.90 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 147.59 yen versus the 147.24 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0929 compared to yesterday’s $1.0969.

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