By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Thursday, with stocks likely to give back ground after moving sharply higher over the course of the previous session.
Profit taking may contribute to initial weakness on Wall Street after the strong gains posted in the previous session lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 to their best closing levels in nearly a month.
Traders may also look to move money into safe havens ahead of the Federal Reserve?s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.
The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but the accompanying statement may shed additional light on the anticipated rate hike in December.
CME Group?s FedWatch tool indicates only a 7 percent chance the Fed will raise rates today but a 75 percent chance for a 25 basis point increase in rates next month.
Stocks showed a significant move to the upside during trading on Wednesday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. With the continued upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in nearly a month.
The major averages ended the day just off their highs of the session. The Dow surged up 545.29 points or 2.1 percent to 26,180.30, the Nasdaq soared 194.79 points or 2.6 percent to 7,570.75 and the S&P 500 spiked 58.44 points or 2.1 percent to 2,813.89.
The rally on Wall Street came as the results of the highly anticipated midterm elections on Tuesday came largely in line with expectations.
Democrats are projected to retake control of the House for the first time since 2010, as Democratic candidates managed to flip a number of suburban districts across the country.
Control of the House will give Democrats subpoena power, potentially leading to numerous investigations of President Donald Trump’s administration.
House Democrats will also play a much larger role if Trump hopes to achieve any major legislative accomplishments in the next two years.
Meanwhile, Democrats did not fare as well as in the Senate, as Republicans appear poised to expand their majority in the upper chamber.
Republican candidates won Democratic Senate seats in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota and are leading in tight races in Florida and Arizona.
The GOP had been seen as likely to maintain control of the Senate due to the tough map faced by Democrats, who were defending 26 of the 35 seats on the ballot.
With Republicans expanding their majority, Trump will likely have an easier time pushing through more controversial judicial nominees.
Despite Republicans losing control of the House, Trump described the night as a “tremendous success” in a post on Twitter.
Software stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the Dow Jones Software Index up by 4 percent. The jump lifted the index to its best closing level in a month.
Considerable strength also emerged among retail stocks, as reflected by the 3.6 percent spike by the Dow Jones Retail Index.
Healthcare stocks also turned in a strong performance, resulting in a 2.9 percent advance by the Dow Jones Health Care Index.
DaVita (DVA) and Fresenius Medical Care (FMS) posted standout gains after California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have capped dialysis payments from insurance companies
Transportation, pharmaceutical, brokerage and chemical stocks also moved notably higher on the day, while gold stocks were among the few groups to buck the uptrend.
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