WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - After ending the previous session little changed, stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 321 points.
Traders may once again attempt to go bargain hunting following the sharp decline shown by the markets over the past month.
The Dow and the S&P 500 ended yesterday's trading well off their lows of the session but still finished the day at their lowest closing levels in over a year.
However, recent bargain hunting efforts have largely been thwarted by worries about the Federal Reserve aggressively raising interest rates in an effort to combat elevated inflation.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments suggesting executing a 'soft landing' for the economy may be out of the central bank's control may also limit buying interest.
'There are huge events, geopolitical events going on around the world that are going to play a very important role in the economy in the next year or so,' Powell said in an interview on NPR's 'Marketplace' on Thursday.
He added, 'So the question whether we can execute a soft landing or not, it may actually depend on factors that we don't control.'
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing imports prices were unexpectedly unchanged in the month of April.
The Labor Department said import prices came in flat in April after surging by an upwardly revised 2.9 percent in March.
Economists had expected import prices to climb by 0.6 percent compared to the 2.6 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report showed export prices advanced by 0.6 percent in April after soaring by a downwardly revised 4.1 percent in March.
Export prices were expected to increase by 0.7 percent compared to the 4.5 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.
Shortly after the start of trading, the University of Michigan is due to release its preliminary report on consumer sentiment in the month of May. The consumer sentiment index is expected to dip to 64.0 in May from 65.2 in April.
Stocks saw substantial volatility over the course of the trading day on Thursday before ending the day little changed. After showing wild swings as the day progressed, the major averages closed narrowly mixed.
The major averages showed a notable recovery going into the close, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq inching up 6.73 points or 0.1 percent to 11,370.96. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 edged down 5.10 points or 0.1 percent to 3,930.08 and the narrower Dow dipped 103.81 points or 0.3 percent at 31,730.30.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 2.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index spiked by 2.7 percent.
The major European markets have also shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has jumped by 1.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.99 to $108.12 a barrel after rising $0.42 to $106.13 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after tumbling $29.10 to $1,824.60 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $15.60 to $1,809 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 128.88 yen versus the 128.34 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0381 compared to yesterday's $1.0400.
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