After ending the previous session firmly in negative territory, stocks are pointing to a higher open on Wednesday, as investors soak in President Barack Obama's latest press conference and respond to an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in February.
Speaking at his second televised news conference from the White House, President Obama said he was a big believer in persistence.
When it comes to domestic affairs, if we keep on working at it . we can pass health care. We can find better solutions to our energy challenges. We can teach our children more effectively, the president said. We are going to stick with it as long as I'm in this office.
Obama also said he was confident that the people would have patience and recognize that the ship of state is more like an ocean liner than a speedboat and takes time to change course.
Facing criticism from Capitol Hill that his proposed spending plans are too ambitious for a time of economic crisis, Obama sought to portray his budget proposal as a key element of the nation's economic recovery.
Obama said his budget sought to bring about broad economic growth by moving from an era in which we borrow and spend to one of saving and investing.
On the economic front, the Commerce Department said that durable goods orders unexpectedly showed a substantial increase in the month of February after falling in each of the six previous months.
The report showed that durable goods orders jumped 3.4 percent in February after falling by a revised 7.3 percent in January. Economists had been expecting durable goods orders to fall by 2.5 percent compared to the 4.5 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding the impact of orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders jumped 3.9 percent for the month, compared to expectations of a 2.0 percent decline.
The Commerce Department is also scheduled to release its report on new home sales in the month of February at 10 am ET. While economists expect new home sales to fall to 300,000 from 309,000 in January, recent housing data has come in much better than expected.
After failing to sustain an afternoon recovery attempt, stocks moved back to the downside going into the close of trading on Tuesday. The major averages all ended the day firmly in negative territory, partly offsetting the standout gains posted in the previous session.
While profit taking contributed to some weakness in the markets, selling pressure remained relatively subdued, helping the major averages to hold onto the bulk of Monday's gains. The Dow fell about 115 points after ending the previous session up nearly 500 points.
Crude oil futures are receding $1.37 to $52.61 a barrel after rising $0.18 to $53.98 a barrel in Tuesday's session. The price decrease comes ahead of the release of the Energy Information Administration's weekly oil inventories report.
Meanwhile, gold futures, which fell $26.50 to $926 an ounce in the previous session, are currently trading down $5.80 at $920.20 ounce. An increase in risk appetite has proved negative for gold prices in recent sessions, especially after the equity market took off solidly.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific market turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. While Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index edged down 0.1 percent, South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.6 percent.
The major European markets are all moving lower after ending the previous session mixed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is currently down 1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
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