Following the late-day surge seen in the previous session, stocks are likely to see further 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.
The markets may continue to benefit from a positive reaction to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement, which lifted the Dow to a record closing high on Wednesday.
The Fed left interest rates unchanged, as widely expected, and signaled plans to cut interest rates three times next year.
Since the Fed’s projections are often conservative, traders are expecting the central bank to slash rates even further than forecast in 2024.
Potentially adding to optimism the economy is headed toward a soft landing, the Commerce Department released a report this morning showing an unexpected increase in U.S. retail sales in November.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in November after slipping by a downwardly revised 0.2 percent.
Economists had expected retail sales to edge down by 0.1 percent, matching the dip originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales inched up by 0.2 percent in November after coming in unchanged in October. Ex-auto sales were expected to slip by 0.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department released a separate report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly decreased in the week ended December 9th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 202,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 221,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 220,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Stocks turned in a lackluster performance throughout much of the trading session on Wednesday before skyrocketing in reaction to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement.
With the late-day rally, the Dow soared to a record closing high, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in almost two years.
The Dow saw further upside going into the close, spiking 512.30 points or 1.4 percent on the day to 37,090.24. The Nasdaq shot up 200.57 points or 1.4 percent to 14,733.96 and the S&P 500 jumped 63.39 points or 1.4 percent to 4,707.09.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shed 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has surged by 1.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.1 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are surging $1.66 to $71.13 a barrel after jumping $0.86 to $69.47 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after rising $4.20 to $1,997.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are soaring $45.90 to $2,043.20 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 142.06 yen versus the 142.89 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0923 compared to yesterday’s $1.0874.
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