Extending the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks continue to experience choppy trading on Friday. The major averages have once again spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The major averages have moved to the upside in recent trading, with the Nasdaq showing a notable advance. While the Nasdaq is up 83.48 points or 0.8 percent at 10,755.74, the Dow is up 50.57 points or 0.2 percent at 26,866.01 and the S&P 500 is up 9.59 points or 0.3 percent at 3,256.18.
Uncertainty about the economic outlook may be keeping traders on the sidelines amid a second wave of coronavirus infections in Europe.
The U.K. and France both reported their biggest increases in new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began on Thursday.
The surge in cases in Europe has raised concerns about the economic impact of new restrictions, although President Donald Trump has ruled out another lockdown in the U.S.
Traders are also keeping an eye on developments in Washington amid reports House Democrats plan to unveil a new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
The price tag for the bill is $1 trillion less than a stimulus package the House passed back in May but may still be too high for Republicans.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a much smaller than expected increase in durable goods orders in the month of August.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose by 0.4 percent in August after soaring by an upwardly revised 11.7 percent in July.
Economists had expected durable goods orders to surge up by 1.5 percent compared to the 11.4 percent spike that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding a 0.5 percent increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders still climbed by 0.4 percent in August following a 3.2 jump in July. Ex-transportation orders were expected to shoot up by 1.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the report said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a reading on business spending, advanced by 1.8 percent in August after jumping by an upwardly revised 2.5 percent in July.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Software stocks have shown a notable move to the upside, however, with the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index rising by 1.2 percent.
On the other hand, gold stocks are giving back ground some ground, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.1 percent.
The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is slumping $13.60 to $1,863.30 an ounce.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.
The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 1.2 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are little changed after ending the previous session slightly higher. 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 0.658 percent.
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