By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Thursday following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session.
The downward momentum on Wall Street comes as traders digest the latest batch of earnings news from several big-name companies.
After moving notably higher over the two previous sessions, stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday. The major averages fluctuated as the day progressed before ending the session mixed.
The Dow dipped 38.56 points or 0.2 percent to 24.748.07, while the Nasdaq rose 14.14 points or 0.2 percent to 7,295.24 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.25 points or 0.1 percent to 2,708.64.
The choppy trading seen on Wall Street came amid a mixed reaction to quarterly results from several big-name companies.
While United Continental (UAL) and CSX Corp. (CSX) moved notably higher after reporting better than expected earnings, IBM Corp. (IBM) came under pressure after providing disappointing full-year earnings guidance.
Traders also seemed somewhat reluctant to continue buying stocks amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.
Toward the end of the trading day, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts.
The Beige Book said economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve districts in March and early April.
The Fed also said the economic outlooks remains positive but noted contacts in various sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation, have expressed concern about newly imposed or proposed tariffs.
With regard to inflation, the Beige Book said prices increased across all twelve districts, generally at a moderate pace.
Steel stocks moved sharply higher on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 3.3 percent. With the jump, the index reached its best closing level in over a month.
Among steel stocks, Steel Dynamics (STLD) posted a notable gain ahead of the release of its first quarter results after the close of today’s trading.
Significant strength was also visible among energy stocks, which moved higher along with the price of crude oil.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index soared by 2.9 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index surged up by 2.3 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index climbed by 1.7 percent.
Transportation and gold stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while tobacco and semiconductor stocks moved to the downside.
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