Futures Pointing To Modestly Higher Open On Wall Street

After ending yesterday’s lackluster session mostly lower, stocks may move to the upside in early 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 0.1 percent.

Overseas strength may carry over onto Wall Street following the release of data showing Chinese factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than a decade in February.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 52.6 from 50.1 in January, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The official non-manufacturing PMI, measuring business sentiment in the services and construction sectors, also rose to 56.3 from 54.4 in January.

Traders may also make another attempt at bargain hunting, as the drop seen on Tuesday dragged the Dow down to its lowest closing level in well over three months.

Not long after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on activity in the manufacturing sector in the month of February.

The ISM’s manufacturing PMI is expected to inch up to 48.0 in February from 47.4 in January, but a reading below 50 would still indicate a contraction.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on construction spending in the month of January. Construction is expected to edge up by 0.2 percent.

After ending the previous session modestly higher, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually closing in negative territory.

The Dow slid 232.39 points or 0.7 percent to 32,656.70, ending the session at its lowest closing level in well over three months. The S&P 500 fell 12.09 points or 0.3 percent to 3,970.15, while the Nasdaq edged down 11.44 points or 0.1 percent to 11,455.54.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared by 4.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.56 to $76.49 a barrel after jumping $1.37 to $77.05 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,843.70, up $7 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,836.70. On Tuesday, gold climbed $11.80.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 135.69 yen compared to the 136.17 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0676 compared to yesterday’s $1.0576.

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