Stocks have moved notably lower in early trading on Thursday on the heels of a batch of disappointing U.S. economic data. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory after opening the session near the unchanged line.
The major averages have edged up off their lows for the session in the past few minutes but remain in the red. The Dow is down 45.98 points or 0.4 percent at 12,373.88, the Nasdaq is down 23.21 points or 0.8 percent at 2,814.15 and the S&P 500 is down 8.67 points or 0.7 percent at 1,304.65.
The weakness that has emerged on Wall Street comes following the release of a slew of U.S. economic data, including reports providing further signs of sluggishness in the labor market.
ADP said private sector employment rose by 133,000 jobs in May following a downwardly revised increase of 113,000 jobs in April. Economists had expected an increase of about 154,000 jobs compared to the addition of 119,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose to 383,000 in the week ended May 26th from the previous week's revised figure of 373,000. Jobless claims had been expected to come in unchanged at the 370,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A Commerce Department report showing slower than previously estimated first quarter GDP growth has also helped to drag stocks lower along with a recent report showing that Chicago-area business activity expanded at a much slower rate in the month of May.
With the price of crude oil extending a recent downward move, oil service stocks are helping to lead the markets lower once again. The Philadelphia Oil Service Index has fallen by 2.2 percent, adding to the 3.9 percent loss it posted on Wednesday.
Housing stocks have also come under considerable selling pressure, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.8 percent. Steel, natural gas, computer hardware, and health insurance stocks are also posting notable losses, moving to the downside along with most of the major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Thursday following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged down by 0.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed over the course of the trading day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are extending yesterday's rally on the heels of the disappointing economic data. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is falling by 3.5 basis points to a new record low of 1.59 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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