Stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Thursday after ending the previous session roughly flat. The major averages have thus far been unable to sustain any significant moves on the day.
The major averages have moved to the downside in recent trading and are currently posting modest losses. The Dow is down 45.41 points or 0.3 percent at 13,130.23, the Nasdaq is down 2.90 points or 0.1 percent at 3,008.35 and the S&P 500 is down 2.87 points or 0.2 percent at 1,399.35.
The lack of direction being shown by stocks comes as traders express continued uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following the recent strength.
While optimism about further monetary stimulus helped to drive stocks higher in recent weeks, traders seem reluctant to continue buying without any official announcement.
At the same time, some upbeat economic data has helped to keep traders from cashing in on the recent gains, with a report from the Labor Department showing an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims.
The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 361,000 in the week ended August 4th from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 367,000 from the 365,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $42.9 billion in June from $48.0 billion in May. The trade deficit had been expected to narrow to $47.5 billion.
The narrower than expected trade deficit reflected an increase in the value of exports and a decrease in the value of imports.
Among individual stocks, shares of Allscripts Healthcare (MDRX: Quote) have shown a strong upward move after the healthcare information services provider reported weaker than expected second quarter earnings but raised its full year earnings guidance. Allscripts is currently up by 18.8 percent.
Online broker E*Trade (ETFC: Quote) is also turning in a strong performance, advancing by 6.2 percent on news that CEO Steven Freiberg has left the company. E*Trade named Chairman Frank Petrilli as interim CEO.
Meanwhile, shares of SunPower (SPWR: Quote) have come under pressure after the solar products and services company provided disappointing guidance. SunPower is currently down by 10.7 percent.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, contributing to the lack of direction being shown by the broader markets.
Nonetheless, railroad stocks have moved to the downside on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Railroads Index down by 1 percent. Greenbrier (GBX: Quote) and Norfolk Southern (NSC: Quote) are posting notable losses.
While airline stocks are also under pressure, considerable strength is visible among housing stocks. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index is up by 1.2 percent, extending a recent upward move.
Gold, brokerage, and networking stocks also continue to see some strength on the day, although buying interest has remained subdued.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned mixed over the course of the trading day. While the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have come under pressure, extending a recent downward move. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is jumping 7.9 basis points to a two-month high of 1.719 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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