Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Thursday, extending the upward move seen over the two previous sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 25 points.
The markets may continue to benefit from optimism about ramped up efforts to combat the coronavirus under new President Joe Biden.
Biden has revealed new details of his plan to tackle the pandemic, which includes providing more state and local funding to accelerate the vaccine rollout and using the Defense Production Act to increase production of personal protective equipment.
Traders also remain optimistic about more fiscal stimulus under Biden, who has called for a new $1.9 trillion relief package.
However, stock futures have fluctuated following the release of a batch of upbeat U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing a pullback in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 16th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 900,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 926,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 910,000 from the 965,000 originally reported for the previous week.
The Commerce Department also released a report showing new residential construction in the U.S. jumped by much more than expected in the month of December.
The reports paint a more positive picture of the economy, but traders may be wary that the data could ease the pressure on lawmakers to approve additional stimulus.
After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Wednesday. With the continued advance, the major averages all ended the session at new record closing highs.
The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow advanced 257.86 points or 0.8 percent to 31,188.38, the Nasdaq soared 260.07 points or 2 percent to 13,457.25 and the S&P 500 jumped 52.94 points or 1.4 percent to 3,851.85.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.8 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has fallen by 0.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.31 to $53 a barrel after rising $0.33 to $53.31 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after jumping $26.30 to $1,866.50 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are slipping $2 to $1,864.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 103.58 yen versus the 103.54 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2146 compared to yesterday’s $1.2106.
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