Stocks have moved modestly lower in early trading on Friday after ending each of the two previous sessions roughly flat. The major averages have slipped into negative territory, although selling pressure has remained subdued.
The major averages are currently posting moderate losses, near their lows for the young session. The Dow is down 61.57 points or 0.5 percent at 13,103.62, the Nasdaq is down 14.39 points or 0.5 percent at 3,004.25 and the S&P 500 is down 6.19 points or 0.4 percent at 1,396.61.
The early weakness on Wall Street is partly due to disappointing Chinese trade data, which has led to renewed concerns about the outlook for the global economy.
A report released by China's General Administration of Customs showed that Chinese exports grew by just 1 percent year-over-year in July, decelerating from the 11.3 percent growth reported for June. Economists had forecast an 8 percent increase.
Chinese imports also rose at a slower rate in July, up 4.7 percent compared to the 6.3 percent increase in June. Economists had expected import growth to pick up to a 7 percent pace.
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department recently released a report showing an unexpected decrease in import prices in the month of July.
The report showed that import prices fell by 0.6 percent in July after tumbling by 2.4 percent in June. The continued drop surprised economists, who had expected import prices to increase by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, export prices rose by 0.5 percent in July following a 1.7 percent decrease in the previous month. Economists had expected export prices to edge down by 0.1 percent.
Natural gas stocks have shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index down by 1.5 percent. With the loss, the index is pulling back off the three-month closing high that it set on Thursday.
Steel, networking, and oil stocks have also come under pressure, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.7 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has edged down by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.9 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are moving back to the upside after coming under pressure in recent sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.6 basis points at 1.642 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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