Dow, Nasdaq Starkly Mixed In Mid-Day Trading, S&P 500 Nearly Unchanged

For the fourth consecutive session, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. While the Dow has advanced to a new record intraday high, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has moved notably lower over the course of the session.

Currently, the Dow is up 162.41 points or 0.5 percent at 35,427.08, but the Nasdaq is down 94.40 points or 0.6 percent at 14,693.69. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 has pulled back near the unchanged line after reaching a record high and is currently up just 0.11 points at 4,436.86.

The mixed performance on Wall Street come after the Labor Department’s highly anticipated reading on consumer price inflation was not bad as some had feared.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.5 percent in July after jumping by 0.9 percent in June.

The increase in consumer prices, which came following the biggest jump in thirteen years in the previous month, matched economist estimates.

Compared to the same month a year ago, consumer prices in July were up by 5.4 percent, unchanged from the annual rate of growth seen in June. The pace of growth was expected to dip to 5.3 percent.

Excluding higher food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in July after surging by 0.9 percent in June. Economists had expected core prices to increase by 0.4 percent.

The annual rate of growth in core prices slowed to 4.3 percent in July from 4.5 percent in June, matching economist estimates.

While the pace of core consumer price growth remains well above the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, traders are viewing the modest slowdown as a sign the central bank will not be in a hurry to scale back stimulus.

The Fed’s asset purchase program has helped prop up the markets throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic, making traders wary of any signs of potential tapering.

The recent resurgence in coronavirus cases may weigh on the economy, leading the Fed to put off tapering plans and allowing stocks to continue to climb to record highs.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves in mid-day trading, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Gold stocks continue to see substantial strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index jumping by 2.7 percent after ending the previous session at its lowest closing level in well over a year.

The rebound by gold stocks comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is climbing $19.20 to $1,750.90 an ounce.

Banking stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, driving the KBW Bank Index up by 1.3 percent to its best intraday level in two months.

On the other hand, biotechnology stocks have moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index down by 2 percent.

Notable weakness among semiconductor stocks is also weighing on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index falling by 1.3 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index inched up by 0.1 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing early weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.349 percent.

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