U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground In Early Trading

Following the strong upward move seen last week, stocks may give back some ground in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 108 points.

Profit taking may contribute to initial weakness on Wall Street, as some traders cash in on last week’s gains, which lifted the major averages to their best levels in nearly a month.

Lingering concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic may also weigh on the markets, with the number of daily deaths from the disease in the U.S. reaching a record high of more than 2,000 on Friday.

However, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed “cautious optimism” the outbreak is slowing down in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

Fauci noted that hospitalizations and intensive care admissions in the New York metropolitan area have not only flattened but stated to turn the corner.

“So, that’s where we’re hopeful. And it’s cautious optimism that we’re seeing that decrease,” Fauci said. “And if you look at the patterns of the curves in other countries, once you turn that corner, hopefully, we will see a very sharp decline.”

At the same time, Fauci cautioned that reopening the country will not be like flipping a light switch and will depend on the situation in different parts of the country.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat subdued, as many overseas markets are closed for Easter Monday holidays.

A lack of major U.S. economic data may also keep some traders on the sidelines, although reports on retail sales, industrial production and housing starts may attract attention in the coming days.

After showing an early move to the upside, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday but largely maintained a positive bias. The advance on the day lifted the major averages to their best closing levels in a month.

The major averages all finished the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow advanced 285.80 points or 1.2 percent to 23,719.37, the Nasdaq climbed 62.67 points or 0.8 percent at 8,153.58 and the S&P 500 jumped 39.84 points or 1.5 percent to 2,789.82.

For the holiday-shortened week, the Dow spiked by 12.7 percent, the Nasdaq surged up 10.6 percent and the S&P 500 soared 12.1 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday, although several major markets were closed for holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 2.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the European markets remain closed today for Easter Monday.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.25 to $23.01 a barrel after plunging $2.33 to $22.76 a barrel last Thursday. Meanwhile, after skyrocketing $68.50 to $1,752.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $15.70 to $1,737.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.89 yen versus the 108.47 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0920 compared to Thursday’s $1.0937.

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