U.S. Stocks May Continue To Regain Ground In Early Trading

Following the rebound seen in the previous session, stocks may see further 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 110 points.

Traders may continue to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels following the sell-off seen earlier in the week.

Before the rebound on Thursday, the major averages ended Wednesday’s trading at their lowest levels in over a month.

However, the futures have given back ground following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing retail sales were unchanged in April after skyrocketing in March.

The Commerce Department said retail sales were virtually unchanged in April after soaring by an upwardly revised 10.7 percent in March.

Economists had expected retail sales to jump by 1.0 percent compared to the 9.8 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a notable increase in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales slid by 0.8 percent in April after surging up by 8.9 percent in March. Ex-auto sales were expected to climb by 0.7 percent.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. import prices increased by slightly more than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.7 percent in April after surging by an upwardly revised 1.4 percent in March.

Economists had expected import prices to increase by 0.6 percent compared to the 1.2 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The report showed export prices also advanced by 0.8 percent in April following a 2.4 percent spike in March. Export prices were expected to rise by 0.6 percent.

Just before the start of trading, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of April. Industrial production is expected to jump by 1.0 percent.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of March at 10 am ET. Economists expected business inventories to rise by 0.3 percent.

Also at 10 am ET, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its preliminary report on consumer sentiment in the month of May. The consumer sentiment index is expected to tick up to 90.4 in May from 88.3 in April.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, staging a strong comeback after suffering losses in the previous three sessions. Investors largely shrugged off concerns about inflation and possible monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve.

Data showing a bigger than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the U.S. and bargain hunting contributed to market’s rebound.

The major averages all ended with strong gains. The Dow advanced 433.79 points or 1.3 percent to 34,021.45 after hitting a high of 34,181.77. The S&P 500 ended up by 49.46 points or 1.2 percent at 4,112.50, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher by 93.31 points or 0.7 percent at 13,124.99, well off the day’s high of 13,247.87.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 2.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.8 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.50 to $64.32 a barrel after plunging $2.26 to $63.82 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after inching up $1.20 to $1,824 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $11.10 to $1,835.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.36 yen versus the 109.47 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2125 compared to yesterday’s $1.2081.

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