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Dow May Look To Reverse Recent Downward Trend

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. Traders may look to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the recent downward trend by the Dow, which ended the previous session at its lowest closing level in two months.

Stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday, as traders reacted to the latest earnings news as well a steep drop by the price of crude oil. The major averages eventually ended the session on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 13.56 points or 0.2 percent to 5,863.03, the Dow slid 118.79 points or 0.6 percent to a two-month closing low of 20,404.49 and the S&P 500 dipped 4.02 points or 0.2 percent to 2,338.17.

A notable decline by shares of IBM Corp. (IBM) weighed on the Dow, with the tech giant tumbling by 4.9 percent to its lowest closing level in over four months.

The steep drop by IBM came after the company reported first quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates but on weaker than expected revenues.

Meanwhile, some positive sentiment was generated by upbeat earnings news from Morgan Stanley (MS) after disappointing results from Goldman Sachs (GS) weighed on the markets on Tuesday

Shares of Morgan Stanley rose by 2 percent after the financial services giant reported better than expected first quarter results.

Yahoo (YHOO), which is in the process of selling its core internet business to Verizon (VZ), also reported first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates.

Overall trading activity was somewhat subdued, however, with lingering geopolitical uncertainty keeping some traders on the sidelines.

Late in the trading day, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts.

The Fed said economic activity increased in each of the twelve districts between mid-February and the end of March, with the pace of expansion equally split between modest and moderate.

The report also said employment expanded across the nation. The job growth also ranged from modest to moderate during the period.

Modest wage increases broadened, the Fed said while noting prices rose modestly since the previous report on balance.

Gold stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 3.7 percent. The index pulled back further off the nearly two-month closing high it set last Wednesday. The sell-off by gold stocks came amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.

A steep drop by the price of crude oil also weighed on energy stocks, as oil prices came under pressure after the release of a report showing an unexpected weekly increase in gasoline inventories.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index plunged by 2.7 percent, while the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index and the NYSE Arca Oil & Gas Index slumped by 1.7 percent and 1.6…

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