U.S. Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction Ahead Of Slew Of Earnings News

Following the sharp pullback seen to close out the previous week, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in morning trading on Monday. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are posting slim gains. The Dow is up 14.97 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 34,466.20, the Nasdaq is up 8.28 points or 0.1 percent at 13,359.35 and the S&P 500 is up 4.47 points or 0.1 percent at 4,397.06.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of a slew of earnings news this week.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), IBM Corp. (IBM), Netflix (NFLX), Procter & Gamble (PG), Tesla (TSLA), American Express (AXP) and Verizon (VZ) are among the big-name companies due to report their quarterly results in the coming days.

Financial giant Bank of America (BAC) released its first quarter results before the start of today’s trading, reporting earnings and revenue that exceeded analyst estimates.

Traders may also be looking ahead to the release of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which may shed additional light on the outlook for interest rates.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing a continued deterioration in U.S. homebuilder confidence in the month of April.

The report showed the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell to 77 in April from 79 in March, with the decrease matching economist estimates.

The housing market index declined for the fourth consecutive month, sliding to its lowest level since hitting 76 last September.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Biotechnology stocks have shown a substantial move to the downside, however, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index plunging by 2.9 percent.

Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) is posting a steep loss after the biopharmaceutical company halted the global clinical development program for its cancer drug bempegaldesleukin in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Opdivo.

Considerable weakness is also visible among brokerage stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index.

On the other hand, semiconductor stocks are regaining ground following recent weakness, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbing by 1.6 percent after ending the previous session at an eleven-month closing low.

Oil service and gold stocks are also seeing significant strength, moving notable higher along with the prices of their associated commodities.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets remain closed today for Easter Monday.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing initial weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 2.826 percent.

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