European and Asian stock markets were mostly higher overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward mixed openings when the New York day session begins, following solid gains posted on Wednesday.

Traders and investors are still digesting the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that concluded Wednesday afternoon. The FOMC statement contained no monetary policy changes but the FOMC members said they will now be patient on future Fed rate hikes due to muted inflationary pressures and some concerns about global economic growth. The statement also suggested the Fed will not be in such a hurry to further reduce its balance sheet of U.S. securities. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at his press conference that “the case for raising U.S. interest rates has weakened somewhat.” While no change in monetary policy was expected, the FOMC statement was deemed fully dovish on U.S. monetary policy. The U.S. stock market rallied sharply, the U.S. dollar index sold off and gold prices also shot higher.

U.S. and China high-level trade officials are meeting in Washington, D.C, with today scheduled to conclude the meetings. There is no consensus at all on any progress that may or may not be made at this week’s talks. Markets will react to any significant announcements coming out of the meeting.

The next big economic data point is Friday’s U.S. jobs report for January from the Labor Department. The key non-farm payrolls number is forecast to come in at up 170,000 in the month. Wednesday’s U.S. ADP national employment report came in at up 213,000 in January. That was well above the average trade guess of up 183,000 and hints that the Friday non-farm jobs number could come in stronger than expected.

In overnight news, the Euro zone got some more downbeat economic data, as its GDP growth for 2018 was reported at 1.8% versus 2.4% in 2017. However, GDP growth in the fourth quarter was up a bit from that of the third quarter.

The outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index trading near steady following Wednesday’s selling pressure. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices are slightly lower and trading around $54.00 a barrel.

U.S. economic reports due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, the Challenger job-cuts report, the employment cost index, the ISM-Chicago business survey, and new residential sales.

U.S. STOCK INDEXES

March S&P 500 e-mini futures: Prices are slightly up in early U.S. trading and hit a six-week high overnight. Prices are in an uptrend on the daily bar chart. The shorter-term moving averages (4-, 9- and 18-day) are bullish early today. The 4-day moving average is above the 9-day and 18-day. The 9-day is above the 18-day moving average. Short-term oscillators (RSI, slow stochastics) are neutral to bullish early today. Today, shorter-term technical resistance comes in at 2,700.00 and then at 2,725.00. Buy stops likely reside just above those levels. Downside support for active traders today is located at 2,650.00 and then at this week’s low of 2,622.25. Sell stops are likely located just below those levels.

March Nasdaq index December futures: Prices are firmer and hit a six-week high in early U.S. trading. Prices are in an uptrend on the daily bar chart. Shorter-term moving averages (4- 9-and 18-day) are bullish early today. The 4-day moving average is above with the 9-day. The 9-day average is above the 18-day. Short-term oscillators (RSI, slow stochastics) are neutral to bullish early today. Shorter-term technical resistance is seen at 6,900.00 and then at 6,950.00. Buy stops likely reside just above those levels. On the downside, short-term support is seen at 6,800.00 and then at 6,750.00. Sell stops are likely located just below those levels.

U.S. TREASURY BONDS AND NOTES FUTURES

March U.S. T-Bonds: Prices are higher and hit a two-week high in early U.S. trading today. Bulls have the firm overall near-term technical advantage. Shorter-term moving averages (4- 9- 18-day) are neutral early today. The 4-day moving average is above the 9-day. The 9-day is below the 18-day moving average. Oscillators (RSI, slow stochastics) are bullish early today. Shorter-term technical resistance is seen at 146 16/32 and then at 147 even. Buy stops likely reside just above those levels. Shorter-term support lies at the overnight low of 145 29/32 and then at 145 16/32. Sell stops likely reside just below those levels.

March U.S. T-Notes: Prices are higher in early U.S. trading. Bulls have the firm overall chart advantage. Shorter-term moving averages (4- 9- 18-day) are neutral early today. The 4-day moving average is above the 9-day. The 9-day is below the 18-day moving average. Oscillators (RSI, slow stochastics) are bullish early today. Shorter-term resistance lies at the overnight high of 122.09.5 and then at 122.16.0. Buy stops likely reside just above those levels. Shorter-term technical support lies at the overnight low of 122.02.0 and then at 122.00.0. Sell stops likely reside just below those levels.

U.S. DOLLAR INDEX

The March U.S. dollar index is slightly lower and hit a three-week low in early U.S. trading. Bulls are fading. The shorter-term moving averages for the dollar index are neutral early today, as the 4-day is below the 9-day. The 9-day is above the 18-day moving average. Short-term oscillators for the dollar index are bearish early today. The dollar index finds shorter-term technical resistance at 95.250 and then at this week’s high of 95.595. Shorter-term support is seen at the overnight low of 94.875 and then at the January low of 94.635.

NYMEX CRUDE OIL

March Nymex crude oil prices are slightly firmer in early U.S. trading after hitting a seven-week high on Wednesday. The shorter-term moving averages are neutral early today as the 4-day is even with the 9-day. The 9-day is above the 18-day moving average. Short-term oscillators (RSI and slow stochastics) are bullish early today. Look for buy stops to reside just above technical resistance at $55.00 and then at $56.00. Look for sell stops just below technical support at $54.00 and then at $53.00.