U.S. Stocks May Turn In Mixed Performance In Early Trading

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, the major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a mixed open for the markets on Friday. While the Dow futures are down by 231 points, the Nasdaq futures are up by 67.25 points.

Renewed Covid-19 concerns may weigh on cyclical stocks as a brutal fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Europe.

Austria has announced a full national Covid-19 lockdown starting on Monday, while Germany has announced more restrictions on unvaccinated people.

The potential of more European countries reinstating full lockdowns may spark worries the pandemic could once again weigh down the global economy.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq may benefit from continued strength among technology stocks following some upbeat earnings news.

Shares of Intuit (INTU) are surging in pre-market trading after the financial software firm reported better than expected fiscal first quarter results and raised its full-year revenue guidance.

Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks (PANW) is also likely to see initial strength after reporting fiscal first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, shares of Applied Materials (AMAT) may move to the downside after the semiconductor equipment maker reported fiscal fourth quarter results that missed expectations and provided disappointing guidance.

Overall trading activity may be somewhat, however, as a lack of major U.S. economic data may keep some traders on the sidelines.

After ending Wednesday’s session modestly lower, the major U.S. stock indexes fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Thursday before closing mixed. Despite the choppy trading, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

While the Nasdaq climbed 72.14 points or 0.5 percent to 15,993.71 and the S&P 500 rose 15.87 points or 0.3 percent to 4,704.54, the narrower Dow recovered from its early lows but still closed down 60.10 points or 0.2 percent at 35,870.95.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Friday, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index bucked the uptrend and slumped by 1.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has slid by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are plunging $2.42 to $76.59 a barrel after climbing $0.65 to $79.01 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after falling $8.80 to $1,861.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are inching up $1.40 to $1,862.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 113.86 yen versus the 114.26 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1288 compared to yesterday’s $1.1371.

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