U.S. Stocks May Continue To Experience Choppy Trading

After showing a lack of direction over the two previous sessions, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a slightly higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by just 0.1 percent.

A lack of major market-moving catalysts may contribute to another lackluster session as traders continue to look ahead to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

The Fed is due to announce its latest monetary policy decision next Wednesday, with the central bank widely expected to pause its recent series of interest rate hikes.

Key inflation reports are also likely to be in the spotlight next week, as the data could impact whether the Fed resumes its rate hikes next month.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 78.2 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged next week but a 54.0 percent chance of another quarter point increase in July.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened significantly in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit increased to $74.6 billion in April from a revised $60.6 billion in March.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to jump to $75.2 billion from the $64.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider trade deficit came as the value of exports plunged by 3.6 percent to $249.0 billion, while the value of imports surged by 1.5 percent to $323.6 billion.

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, extending the lackluster performance seen in the previous session. The major averages once again spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day in positive territory. The Nasdaq climbed 46.99 points or 0.4 percent to 13,276.42, the S&P 500 rose 10.06 points or 0.2 percent to 4,283.85 and the Dow inched up 10.42 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 33,573.28.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are slightly higher on the day. While the German DAX Index is just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.70 to $72.44 a barrel after falling $0.41 to $71.74 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,974.70, down $6.80 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,981.50. On Tuesday, gold rose $7.20.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 139.55 yen compared to the 139.63 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0705 compared to yesterday’s $1.0693.

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