By RTT News, September 26, 2013, 08:57:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - After trending lower in recent sessions, stocks may move back to the upside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a moderately higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 35 points.
The upward momentum for the markets comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended September 21st.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 305,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 310,000.
The modest decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to climb to 325,000 from the 309,000 originally reported for the previous week.
While the jobless claims data in recent weeks was impacted by technical issues in two states, the Labor Department said the latest report is clean.
Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, said, "Bottom line, the pace of firings continue to drop which is certainly very encouraging."
"Seeing a more pronounced pick up in hiring's though is a different story and will likely remain the case as long as CEO's continue to have limited visibility in their business," he added.
A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed that U.S. gross domestic product increased at an unrevised rate in the second quarter.
The Commerce Department said GDP increased by 2.5 percent in the second quarter, unchanged from the previous estimate. Economists had expected the pace of growth to be upwardly revised to 2.6 percent.
Traders are also likely to keep an eye on developments in Washington, where lawmakers continue to wrangle over legislation to keep the government running past next Monday.
While selling pressure remained relatively subdued, stocks moved modestly lower over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The markets experienced another choppy session but still extended the downward trend seen over the past week.
The major averages all ended the day in the red, with the Dow and the S&P 500 closing lower for the fifth straight day. The Dow fell 61.33 points or 0.4 percent to 15,273.26, the Nasdaq edged down 7.16 points or 0.2 percent to 3,761.10 and the S&P 500 dipped 4.65 points or 0.3 percent to 1,692.77.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4 percent.
The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day, although they are all roughly flat. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.1 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.41 to $103.07 a barrel after falling $0.47 to $102.66 a barrel on Wednesday. Gold futures, which rose $19.90 to $1,336.20 an ounce in the previous session, are slipping $1.70 to $1,334.50 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 98.97 yen compared to the 98.43 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.3497 compared to yesterday's $1.3526.
For comments and feedback: contact email@example.com