By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a roughly flat opening on Thursday following the afternoon weakness seen in the previous session.
Uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets may lead to choppy trading on Wall Street after the volatility seen in recent weeks.
Lingering concerns about future interest rates hikes by the Federal Reserve may also keep some traders on the sidelines on the day.
Stocks came under pressure in afternoon trading on Wednesday following the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.
The major averages ended the day firmly in negative territory, just off their lows of the session. The Dow slid 166.97 points or 0.7 percent to 24,797.78, the Nasdaq dipped 16.08 points or 0.2 percent to 7,218.23 and the S&P 500 fell 14.93 points or 0.6 percent to 2,701.33.
The lower close on Wall Street came after the minutes of the Fed’s January meeting indicated the central bank still plans to raise interest rates three times in 2018.
The Fed raised its projection for inflation from anemic levels, saying that core personal consumption expenditure index “would rise notably faster this year” from its 1.5% rate in December.
Natural gas stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index down by 2.9 percent.
Real estate, utilities, and semiconductor stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.
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