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Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2013 4am

Back You are here: Home Markets Markets Update US Commentary Stocks May Turn In Another Lackluster Performance - U.S. Commentary

Stocks Update

 After turning in a lackluster performance throughout the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a mixed open for the markets. While the Dow futures are down by 14 points, the Nasdaq futures are up by 3 points.

A relatively quiet day on both the economic and corporate news fronts may keep trading activity somewhat subdued as traders continue to digest Wednesday's surprise Federal Reserve announcement.

In light of the central bank's unexpected decision to refrain from scaling back its stimulus program, traders are likely to keep an eye on remarks from several Fed officials.

Ahead of a speech on monetary policy to the New York Association for Business Economics, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Bloomberg that the decision to hold off on tapering was a "borderline" call that reflected weaker data.

Bullard said the Fed's next meeting in late October would a "live meeting," noting that "it's possible you could get some data that change the complexion of the outlook and could make the committee be comfortable with a small taper in October."

Kansas City Fed President Esther George, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, and Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo are also due to deliver remarks at separate events.

George voted against the recent Fed decision to maintain the asset purchase program at its current pace, expressing concerns that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increases the risks of future economic and financial imbalances.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on developments in Washington, where the House is expected to vote on a spending bill that keeps the federal government running but defunds President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law.

While the bill is likely to pass the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to reject the language cutting off funding for Obamacare.

The standoff over Obamacare could result in a government shutdown if a new continuing resolution is not passed before funding runs out at the end of the month.

Following the Federal Reserve-inspired rally seen on Wednesday, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance throughout the trading day on Thursday.

The major averages eventually ended the day mixed, as the tech-heavy Nasdaq extended its upward move but the Dow and the S&P 500 gave back some ground.

While the Nasdaq edged up 5.74 points or 0.2 percent to 3,789.38, the Dow dipped 40.39 points or 0.3 percent to 15,636.55 and the S&P 500 slipped 3.18 points or 0.2 percent to 1,722.34.

In overseas trading, stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Friday, although several markets were closed for public holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index dropped by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets are also seeing modest weakness on the day. The French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.89 to $105.50 a barrel after tumbling $1.68 to $106.39 a barrel on Thursday. Gold futures are falling $18 to $1,351.30 an ounce. In the previous session, gold jumped $61.70 to $1,369.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 99.51 yen compared to the 99.45 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.3529 compared to yesterday's $1.3530.

by RTT Staff Writer