After ending the previous session mixed, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a modestly lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 10 points.
Traders continue to digest the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday, when the Fed left interest rates unchanged but signaled another rate hike is likely this year.
The Fed’s projections pointed to a quarter basis point rate increase later this year, with the rate hike widely expected to come at the December meeting.
The central bank also revealed that it will begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in October, initially allowing $10 billion in bonds to roll off each month.
In her subsequent press conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the process of winding down the balance sheet would be gradual and predictable.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department recently released a report showing an unexpected decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended September 16th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 259,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 282,000.
The continued decrease surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to climb to 300,000 from the 284,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report released by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed an unexpected improvement in regional manufacturing conditions in the month of September.
The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity rose to 23.8 in September from 18.9 in August, with a positive reading indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to drop to 17.2.
Shortly after the start of trading, the Conference Board is scheduled to release its report on leading economic indicators in the month of August. The leading economic index is expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
Stocks saw considerable volatility late in the trading day on Wednesday as traders digested…