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

Following the pullback seen last Friday, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Monday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by just 18 points.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese government revealed Sunday night that a total of 40,171 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, with 908 people dying from the disease.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to win the fight against the outbreak, saying China will speed up the development of drugs aimed at treating the deadly pneumonia-like virus.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has voiced concerns about the spread from people with no travel history to China, saying, “We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

A lack of major U.S. economic data may also keep some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of reports on consumer prices, retail sales and industrial production later this week.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is also due to head up to Capitol Hill in the coming days for his semi-annual testimony to Congress.

Powell is slated to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking committee on Wednesday.

After moving sharply higher over the course of several sessions, stocks gave back some ground during trading on Friday. The major averages all moved to the downside after ending last Thursday’s trading at record closing highs.

The Dow tumbled 277.48 points or 0.9 percent to 29,102.29, the Nasdaq slid 51.64 points or 0.5 percent to 9,520.51 and the S&P 500 fell 18.08 points or 0.5 percent to 3,327.70.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both ended the day down by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are edging down $0.15 to $50.17 a barrel after sliding $0.63 to $50.32 a barrel last Friday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,576.90, up $3.50 from the previous session’s close of $1,573.40. On Friday, gold rose $3.40.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.73 yen compared to the 109.75 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Friday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0945 compared to last Friday’s $1.0946.

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