U.S. Stocks Mixed In Early Trading Hours

U.S. stocks are mixed in today’s early trading as positive U.S. economic data reports published yesterday alongside an affirmative tone of Federal Reserve officials around a June rate hike has revved up anxiety across global markets.

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Fed minutes

During the early trading hours, the S&P 500 Index (INDEXCBOE:SPX) remained mostly unchanged and the Nasdaq Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) managed to climb 0.3%. Release of the meeting minutes of the Fed’s last monetary policy meeting will play a key role in guiding the market’s direction for the rest of the day.

Comments from three Fed officials signaling room for two to three rate hikes this year sent Wall Street tumbling while adding strength to U.S. Dollar (CURRENCY:USD). However, CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) data indicated that there is only a 15% chance of a June rate hike.

Economic data in Japan and U.K.

Meanwhile, Japan dodged recession blues by reporting a surprise jump in its gross domestic product, which rose 0.4% quarter-on-quarter and 1.7% on annual basis. After this report, traders await a decision from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over his plan to increase sales tax to 10% from 8%. According to Nikkei, Abe is likely to postpone the decision until the end of the G-7 meeting.

In the U.K. the unemployment rate remained static at 5.1%, however, an uptick in wages was seen over the last three months until March.  Final reading of Eurozone consumer price index for April fell 0.2% year-on-year, unchanged from the previous month. Core inflation also slowed down, regardless of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) price stability efforts.

Oil prices traded negative today ahead of the release of weekly data of crude stockpiles in U.S. The American Petroleum Institute data showed 1.2 million barrels cut in U.S. oil inventories, which came lower than expected. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report to be released later today will provide a better picture of oil output.

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