U.S. Stocks May Continue To Experience Choppy Trading

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by just 8 points.

The futures remained little changed even after a report from the Labor Department showed producer prices fell by more than expected in the month of December.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand declined by 0.5 percent in December after inching up by a revised 0.2 percent in November.

Economists had expected producer prices to edge down by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The report also showed the annual rate of producer price growth slowed to 6.2 percent in December from 7.3 percent in November. The year-over-year growth was expected to slow to 6.8 percent.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed a steep drop in U.S. retail sales in the month of December.

The Commerce Department said retail sales tumbled by 1.1 percent in December after slumping by a revised 1.0 percent in November.

Economists had expected retail sales to decrease by 0.8 percent compared to the 0.6 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a decrease in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales still dove by 1.1 percent in December following a 0.6 percent decline in November. Ex-auto sales were expected to fall by 0.4 percent.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its report on industrial production in the month of December just before the start of trading. Industrial production is expected to edge down by 0.1 percent in December after dipping by 0.2 percent in November.

Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of January. The housing market index is expected to come in unchanged at 31.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of November. Business inventories are expected to increase by 0.4 percent.

The Federal Reserve is due to release the Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts, at 2 pm ET.

Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Tuesday, with traders seemingly reluctant to make significant moves following the long holiday weekend.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 spent much of the day lingering near the unchanged line, although the narrower Dow showed a notable move to the downside.

The major averages eventually ended the session mixed. While the Nasdaq inched up 15.96 points or 0.1 percent to 11,095.11, the S&P 500 dipped 8.12 points or 0.2 percent to 3,990.97 and the Dow slumped 391.76 points or 1.1 percent to 33,910.85.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 2.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also shown modest moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.43 to $81.61 a barrel after rising $0.32 to $80.18 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,922.10, up $12.20 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,909.90. On Tuesday, gold fell $11.80.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 128.31 yen compared to the 128.12 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0855 compared to yesterday’s $1.0788.

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