Reflecting the recent downward trend by stocks, traders have reacted negatively to a disappointing batch of U.S. economic data on Thursday after largely shrugging off some upbeat data earlier in the week. The major averages have slid moderately below the unchanged line.
The weakness that has emerged on Wall Street is due in large part to the release of a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showing an unexpected contraction in regional manufacturing activity in the month of May.
A separate report from the Conference Board showed an unexpected drop by its leading economic indicators index, while the Labor Department said jobless claims were unchanged last week.
Housing stocks are seeing considerable weakness on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.3 percent. Standard Pacific (SPF) and PulteGroup (PHM) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances.
Airline, biotechnology, and chemical stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while more modest weakness is visible in a variety of other sectors.
On the other hand, gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 5.1 percent. The strength in the sector comes as the price of gold for June delivery is surging up $35.10 to $1,571.70 an ounce.
The major averages are off their worst levels of the day but remain stuck in negative territory. The Dow is down 33.57 points or 0.3 percent at 12,563.98, the Nasdaq is down 17.92 points or 0.6 percent at 2,856.12 and the S&P 500 is down 3.49 points or 0.3 percent at 1,321.31.
by RTT Staff Writer
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