(RTTNews) – Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Thursday, extending the upward trend seen over the past few sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.
The markets may benefit from recent upward momentum, which has propelled the major averages to a four-session winning streak.
Recent economic data adding to optimism the Federal Reserve will leave interest rates unchanged has contributed to the strength on Wall Street.
The futures remained positive following the release of a Commerce Department report showing consumer price growth in the U.S. accelerated in line with economist estimates in the month of July.
The Commerce Department said the annual rate of consumer price growth increased to 3.3 percent in July from 3.0 percent in June. The faster growth matched expectations.
The reading on inflation, which is said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, also showed consumer prices rose 0.2 percent on a monthly basis in July, matching the uptick in June as well as economist estimates.
The report also said the annual rate of growth by core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, inched up to 4.2 percent in July from 4.1 percent in June. The modest increase also matched expectations.
Core consumer prices rose by 0.2 percent on a monthly basis in July after edging up by 0.2 percent in June, in line with estimates.
The inflation readings were included in the Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending in the month of July.
With the more closely watched monthly jobs report looming, the Labor Department also released a report unexpectedly showing a slight decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended August 26th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 228,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 232,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 235,000 from the 230,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Just after the start of trading, MNI Indicators is due to release its report on Chicago-area business activity in the month of August.
The Chicago business barometer is expected to rise to 44.1 in August from 42.8 in July, although a reading below 50 would still indicate a contraction.
Extending the upward trend seen in recent sessions, stocks moved moderately higher during trading on Wednesday. The major averages all moved to the upside, closing higher for the fourth consecutive session.
The Nasdaq climbed 75.55 points or 0.5 percent to 14,019.31, the S&P 500 rose 17.24 points or 0.4 percent to 4,514.87 and the Dow inched up 37.57 points or 0.1 percent to 34,890.24.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.9 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are advancing $0.80 to $82.43 a barrel after climbing $0.47 to $81.63 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after rising $7.90 to $1,973 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging down $1.90 to $1,971.10 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 146.04 yen versus the 146.24 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0867 compared to yesterday’s $1.0923.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.