Stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Friday after moving significantly higher over the two previous sessions. The major index futures are currently turning in a mixed performance, as the Dow futures are up by 41 points but the Nasdaq futures are down by 5 points.

Traders may take a breather following the strong upward move seen in recent sessions, which lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to their best closing levels in almost two months on Thursday.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing import prices increased by less than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said import prices rose by 0.3 percent in April after edging down by a revised 0.2 percent in March.

Economists had expected import prices to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said export prices increased by 0.6 percent in April after rising by 0.3 percent in March. Export prices had been expected to rise by another 0.3 percent.

Shortly after the start of trading, the University of Michigan is due to release its preliminary report on consumer sentiment in the month of May. The consumer sentiment index is expected to edge down to 98.5 in May after falling to 98.8 in April.

Traders are likely to keep an eye on Washington later in the day, as President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech on his plan to lower drug prices.

Reports say Trump's plan will include a series of reforms to Medicare but will stop short of allowing the government to negotiate directly with drug makers.

Following the strength seen on Wednesday, stocks saw some further upside during trading on Thursday. With the continued upward move, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached their best closing levels in almost two months.

The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow climbed 196.99 points or 0.8 percent to 24,739.53, the Nasdaq jumped 65.07 points or 0.9 percent to 7,404.98 and the S&P 500 advanced 25.28 points or 0.9 percent to 2,723.07.

In overseas trading, stock across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.3 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are edging down $0.01 to $71.35 a barrel after rising $0.22 to $71.36 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after jumping $9.30 to $1,322.30 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $2.70 to $1,325 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.23 yen compared to the 109.40 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1949 compared to yesterday's $1.1915.

by P2PNews Staff Writer

editorial@p2pnews.com

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