After ending the previous session modestly lower, stocks are likely to move back to the upside in early trading on Wednesday. While the major index futures were moving lower earlier in the morning, they turned higher following the release of some better than expected employment data.
Private sector employment showed another notable decline in the month of April, according to a report released by Automatic Data Processing, Inc., although the decrease in jobs was much smaller than economists had expected.
The report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 491,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 708,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected a decrease of 645,000 jobs compared to the loss of 742,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
While the data points to continued weakness in the labor market, it presents another sign that the economy is stabilizing and is likely to generate some optimism about the Labor Department's monthly employment report due to be released on Friday.
Economists currently expect the Labor Department report, which includes government jobs, to show that employment fell by 620,000 jobs in April following a decrease of 663,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to a twenty-five year high of 8.9 percent.
Nonetheless, traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Labor Department report as well as the release of the results of the government's stress tests of leading financial institutions after the close of trading on Thursday.
While recent reports have suggested that the stress tests are likely to determine that several banks need to raise additional capital, bank stocks have largely remained stable, holding onto the strong gains that were shown in recent weeks.
In other news, shares of Disney (DIS) are likely to be in focus after the entertainment giant reported second quarter earnings that fell sharply year-over-year but reported adjusted earnings that came in above analyst estimates.
Disney reported adjusted second quarter earnings of $0.43 per share compared to analyst estimates of $0.40 per share. At the same time, the company said its revenue edged down 7 percent to $8.09 billion, slightly below analyst estimates of $8.15 billion.
Meanwhile, shares of Garmin (GRMN) are under considerable pressure in pre-market trading after the navigation device maker reported first quarter earnings that fell by much more than analysts had been expecting. The company's sales also came in below estimates.
Stocks saw some weakness during trading on Tuesday, as traders cashed in on the standout gains that were posted on Monday. Nonetheless, the major averages ended the session well off their worst levels of the day.
The major averages showed a lack of direction in early trading but moved firmly into negative territory over the course of the morning. While the markets regained some ground going into the close, the Dow still finished the session down about 16 points.
Crude oil futures are trading up $0.40 at $54.24 a barrel after receding $0.63 to $53.84 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, gold futures are rising $2.70 to $907 an ounce. In the previous session, the precious metal climbed $2.10 to $904.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 99.01 yen compared to the 98.81 yen it fetched at the close of trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is currently valued at $1.3356.
In overseas trading, stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday amid some uncertainty about the release of the U.S. stress test results. The Japanese market remained closed for the third straight day.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are currently all moving higher, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advancing 1.6 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up 2.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
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