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

Stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Tuesday, giving back ground after trending higher over the past several sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 0.2 percent.

Traders may look to cash in on the recent strength in the markets, which partly reflected optimism that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has closed higher for seven consecutive sessions, while the Dow and the S&P 500 have closed higher for six straight sessions.

The Dow inched slightly higher on Monday, with the uptick lifting the blue chip index to its highest closing level in well over a month.

Overall trading activity may remain somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to speeches by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday and Thursday.

Powell is due to deliver opening remarks at the Division of Research and Statistics Centennial Conference on Wednesday and participate in a policy panel discussion before the 24th Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference on Thursday.

Traders are likely to pay close attention to Powell’s remarks, looking for additional confirmation the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged for the foreseeable future.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened by more than expected in the month of September.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit increased to $61.5 billion from a revised $58.7 billion in August. Economists had expected the trade deficit to climb to $60.2 billion from the $58.3 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider than expected deficit came as the value of imports surged by 2.7 percent to $322.7 billion, while the value of exports jumped by 2.2 percent to $261.1 billion.

After moving sharply higher over the course of the previous week, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday. The major averages spent most of the day lingering near the unchanged line before closing modestly higher.

While the Nasdaq climbed 40.50 points or 0.3 percent to 13,518.78 and the S&P 500 rose 7.64 points or 0.2 percent to 4,365.98, the narrower Dow inched up 34.54 points or 0.1 percent to 34,095.86, its best closing level in well over a month.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dove by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slumping $1.69 to $79.13 a barrel after rising $0.31 to $80.82 on Monday. Meanwhile, after falling $10.60 to $1,988.60 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are sliding $22.40 to $1,966.20 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 150.59 yen compared to the 150.07 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Monday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0678 compared to yesterday’s $1.0718.

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