Stocks May Lack Direction In Early Trading U.S. Commentary

( - Following the rally seen in the previous session, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a mixed open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 8 points but the Nasdaq futures down by 21 points.

Traders are digesting the latest batch of earnings and economic news, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a steep drop in new residential construction in the month of December.

The report said housing starts tumbled by 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.192 million in December from the revised November estimate of 1.299 million.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, edged down by 0.1 percent to a rate of 1.302 million in December from a revised 1.303 million in November.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report showing growth in activity in the Philadelphia-area manufacturing sector slowed by more than anticipated in the month of January.

The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region slid to 22.2 in January from a revised 27.9 in December, although a positive reading still indicates growth.

Economists had expected the Philly Fed index to dip to 25.0 from the 26.2 originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits pulled back by more than expected in the week ended January 13th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 220,000, a decrease of 41,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 261,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 250,000.

On the earnings front, shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) are moving to the upside in pre-market trading after the investment bank reported better than expected fourth quarter results.

M&T Bank (MTB) may also be in focus after reporting fourth quarter earnings that exceeded analyst expectations.

On the other hand, shares of Alcoa ( AA ) are likely to come under pressure after the aluminum producer reported fourth quarter results that came in below analyst estimates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 26,000 for the first time ever on Wednesday, extending early gains after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book painted a sunny picture of the U.S. economy.

The major averages all ended the session at record closing highs. The Dow surged up 322.79 points or 1.3 percent to 26,115.65, the Nasdaq jumped 74.59 points or 1 percent to 7,298.28 and the S&P 500 advanced 26.14 points or 0.9 percent to 2,802.56.

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