U.S. Stocks May Show A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading

Stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Wednesday following the sharp pull back seen in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat for the markets, with the Dow futures down by just 12 points.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves as they digest the recent strength on Wall Street, which lifted the Nasdaq to a new record intraday high on Tuesday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq may continue to outperform its counterparts, with Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) all moving notably higher in pre-market trading.

Overall trading activity is likely to be somewhat subdued, however, as a lack of major U.S. economic news keeps some traders on the sidelines.

The economic calendar remains relatively light throughout the week, although reports on weekly jobless claims and producer price inflation may attract some attention in the coming days.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on the latest news on the coronavirus front after the U.S. reported a record daily increase of more than 60,000 coronavirus cases.

Among individual stocks, shares of National General Holdings (NGHC) are spiking in pre-market trading after the insurance company agreed to be acquired by Allstate (ALL) for approximately $4 billion or $34.50 per share in cash.

Oil service provider TechnipFMC (FTI) may also see initial strength after signing a more than $1 billion contract for the construction of a new hydrocracking complex at an Assiut National Oil Processing refinery in Egypt.

Meanwhile, shares of Levi Strauss (LEVI) may come under pressure after the jeans maker said it expects its business will continue to be significantly adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic for at least the balance of 2020.

Stocks moved significantly lower over the course of the trading session on Tuesday, giving back ground following the strong upward move seen in recent days. The Nasdaq reached a new record intraday high in morning trading but eventually joined the Dow and S&P 500 in negative territory.

The major averages saw further downside going into the close, ending the session near their worst levels of the day. The Dow plunged 396.85 points or 1.5 percent at 25,890.18, the Nasdaq slumped 89.76 points or 0.9 percent to 10,343.89 and the S&P 500 tumbled 34.40 points or 1.1 percent to 3,145.32.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside for the second straight day. While the French CAC 40 Index has slumped by 1 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.10 to $40.72 a barrel after edging down $0.01 to $40.62 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,814.70, up $4.80 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,809.90. On Tuesday, gold jumped $16.40.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 107.57 yen compared to the 107.52 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1279 compared to yesterday’s $1.1274.

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