After ending the previous session mostly lower, stocks are likely to move back to the upside in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 93 points.
Easing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak may contribute to early strength on Wall Street after Chinese officials reported the lowest number of newly confirmed cases since late January.
China’s National Health Commission reported 1,749 new cases of the coronavirus, brining the nationwide total to 74,185. More than 2,000 people have died as a result of the outbreak.
A rebound by shares of Apple (AAPL) may also generate some positive sentiment, with the tech giant rising by 0.5 percent in pre-market trading after slumping by 1.8 percent on Tuesday.
Apple warned of weaker than previously forecast second quarter revenue due to the coronavirus outbreak, but traders seem optimistic the impact will only be temporary.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing producer prices increased by much more than anticipated in the month of January.
The Labor Department said it producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.5 percent in January after rising by 0.2 percent in December. Economists had expected producer prices to inch up by 0.1 percent.
Excluding a pullback in energy prices and a modest increase in food prices, core producer prices still rose by 0.5 percent in January compared to economist estimates for a 0.2 percent uptick.
A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed a pullback in new residential construction in the month of January.
The Commerce Department said housing starts slumped by 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.567 million in January after soaring by 17.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.626 million in December.
Economists had expected housing starts to tumble by 11.4 percent to a rate of 1.425 million from the 1.608 million originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report said building permits spiked by 9.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.551 million in January after sliding by 3.7 percent to a revised rate of 1.420 million in December.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to rise by 2.4 percent to a rate of 1.450 million from the 1.416 million originally reported for the previous month.
Later in the trading day, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes from its most recent monetary policy meeting.
Stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday as traders returned to their desks following the long holiday weekend. While the Nasdaq managed to end the day slightly higher, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed in negative territory.
The Nasdaq inched up 1.57 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 9,732.74, but the Dow slid 165.69 points or 0.6 percent to 29,232.39 and the S&P 500 fell 9.87 points or 0.3 percent to 3,370.29.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has climbed by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $0.83 to $52.88 a barrel after closing unchanged at $52.05 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,607.70, up $4.10 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,603.60. On Tuesday, gold jumped $17.20.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.73 yen compared to the 109.87 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is unchanged compared to yesterday’s $1.0792.
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