U.S. Stocks Turning In Another Mixed Performance

After ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in another mixed performance during trading on Thursday.

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq is bouncing off yesterday’s two-month closing low, the Dow has moved to the downside.

Currently, the Dow is down 129.36 points or 0.4 percent at 34,261.36, but the Nasdaq is up 65.31 points or 0.5 percent at 14,577.75. The S&P 500 is nearly unchanged, up just 0.53 points at 4,359.99.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as treasury yields have shown a lack of direction, with the ten-year yield nearly unchanged after inching up to a new three-month closing high on Wednesday.

Traders are also keeping an eye on Washington after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced an agreement on a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

The proposed legislation, which would fund the government through December 3rd, also includes spending on hurricane relief and Afghan refugee resettlement.

Schumer said the Senate would vote on the legislation later today, although the bill would still need to pass the House before a midnight deadline.

Even if a government shutdown is avoided, the U.S. still faces a potential default amid an impasse over raising the debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned of “catastrophic economic consequences” if the debt ceiling is not raised by October 18th.

Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell are also testifying before the House Financial Services Committee this morning.

Powell’s prepared remarks mirrored those he delivered before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, with the Fed chief warning of upside risks to inflation.

Traders are also digesting the latest economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly increased for the third straight week in the week ended September 25th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 362,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 351,000. The uptick surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to dip to 335,000.

With the unexpected increase, jobless claims climbed further off the pandemic-era low of 312,000 set in the week ended September 4th.

Gold stocks have shown a significant move back to the upside on the day, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surging up by 2.1 percent after ending the previous session at its lowest closing in well over a year.

The rebound by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is spiking $31.30 to $1,754.20 an ounce.

Notable strength is also visible among steel stocks, resulting in a 1.3 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index is bouncing off a six-month closing low.

On the other hand, airline stocks have moved significantly lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Airline Index down by 1.9 percent.

A steep drop by the price of crude oil is also contributing to considerable weakness among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent slump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is dipped by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction over the course of the morning. 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 1.538 percent.

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