U.S. Stocks May Give Back Ground Following Recent Strength

After closing higher for four consecutive sessions, stocks are likely to give back ground in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures down by 1 percent.

Technology stocks are likely to lead the pullback on Wall Street after helping drive the rally seen over the past several sessions.

A steep drop by Meta (FB) is likely to weigh on the tech sector, with the Facebook parent plunging by 23.1 percent in pre-market trading.

Meta is under pressure after the social media giant reported weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings and provided disappointing revenue guidance for the current quarter.

Audio streaming company Spotify (SPOT) is also likely to see initial weakness after reporting a narrower than expected fourth quarter loss but issuing a weaker than expected subscriber forecast.

Traders may also cash in on some of the recent strength in the markets ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest decrease by first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 29th.

The report showed initial jobless claims dipped to 238,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 261,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 245,000 from the 260,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed labor productivity spiked much more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2021, while unit labor costs rose by much less than expected.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on service sector activity in the month of January.

The ISM’s services PMI is expected to drop to 59.5 in January from 62.0 in December, although a reading above 50 would still indicate growth.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of December. Factory orders are expected to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, extending the strong upward move seen over the three previous sessions. With the continued advance, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 climbed further off last week’s multi-month lows.

The major averages all finished the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow climbed 224.09 points or 0.6 percent at 35,629.33, the Nasdaq rose 71.54 points or 0.5 percent to 14,417.55 and the S&P 500 advanced 42.84 points or 0.9 percent to 4,589.38.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, with the Chinese and Hong Kong markets still closed for Lunar New Year. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi surged up by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are tumbling $1.08 to $87.18 a barrel after inching up $0.06 to $88.26 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after climbing $8.80 to $1,810.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $7.50 to $1,802.80 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 114.80 yen versus the 114.46 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1340 compared to yesterday’s $1.1305.

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