U.S. Stocks May Extend Yesterday’s Late-Day Pullback

Stocks are likely to come under pressure in early trading on Thursday, extending the sharp pullback seen late in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 218 points.

The downward momentum on Wall Street reflects renewed trade concerns following tough talk from President Donald Trump ahead of two days of U.S.-China trade talks in Washington.

Trump claimed during a rally in Florida on Wednesday that the U.S. is planning to raise tariffs on China’s goods because China “broke the deal.”

“So they’re flying in, the vice premier tomorrow is flying in — good man — but they broke the deal,” Trump told his supporters. “They can’t do that, so they’ll be paying.”

The comments from Trump come as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to take part in the latest round of trade talks as officials from the world’s two largest economies attempt to reach an historic trade agreement.

Analysts have previously urged investors to focus on Trump’s actions rather than his words, suggesting that the president’s bluster is merely a negotiating tactic.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing the U.S. trade deficit widened in the month of March.

The report said the trade deficit widened to $50.0 billion in March from a revised $49.3 billion in February. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $50.2 billion.

The wider trade deficit came as the value of imports surged up by 1.1 percent to $262.0 billion compared to a 1.0 percent jump in the value of exports to $212.0 billion.

The Labor Department also released a report showing producer prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of April.

The report said producer price index for final demand rose by 0.2 percent in April after climbing by 0.6 percent in March. The uptick in prices matched expectations.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in April after rising by 0.3 percent in March. Economists had expected core prices to edge up by 0.2 percent.

A separate Labor Department report showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back by less than expected in the week ended May 4th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dipped to 228,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 230,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 220,000.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on wholesale inventories in the month of March. Wholesale inventories are expected to be unchanged.

Stocks moved modestly higher over the course of the trading session on Wednesday but pulled back sharply going into the close. The volatility on the day came on the heels of the steep drop seen on Tuesday.

The major averages ended the day mixed, as the Dow managed to hold on to a slim gain. While the Dow inched up 2.24 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 25,967.33, the Nasdaq fell 20.44 points or 0.3 percent to 7,943.32 and the S&P 500 dipped 4.63 points or 0.2 percent to 2,879.42.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.4 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has tumbled by 1.4 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.50 to $61.62 a barrel after climbing $0.72 to $62.12 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,282.60, up $1.20 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,281.40. On Wednesday, gold dipped $4.20.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.77 yen compared to the 110.10 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1197 compared to yesterday’s $1.1192.

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