Stocks moved to the downside at the start of trading on Thursday but have not seen much follow-through on the initial downward move. The major averages have dipped into negative territory, offsetting the modest gains posted in the previous session.
The major averages have climbed off their lows for the young session in recent trading but remain in the red. The Dow is down 58.15 points or 0.4 percent at 13,049.33, the Nasdaq is down 13.67 points or 0.4 percent at 3,067.52 and the S&P 500 is down 6.17 points or 0.4 percent at 1,404.32.
The initial weakness on Wall Street was partly due to uncertainty about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at the Kansas City Fed's Jackson Hole symposium on Friday, with some traders looking to safe havens ahead of the Fed Chief's remarks.
Many traders expect Bernanke to make comments indicating whether the central bank will engage in another round of quantitative easing.
Traders are also digesting the latest batch of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing that jobless claims unexpectedly came in unchanged in the week ended August 25th.
The report said initial jobless claims came in at 374,000, unchanged compared to the previous week's revised figure. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 370,000 from the 372,000 originally reported for the previous week.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that personal income rose by 0.3 percent in July, matching the increases seen in the two previous months. The increase also came in line with economist estimates.
The report also showed that personal spending increased by 0.4 percent in July after coming in flat in June. The spending growth also matched the expectations of economists.
Networking stocks have moved sharply lower in early trading, dragging the NYSE Arca Networking Index down by 2.1 percent. Ciena (CIEN) is leading the sector lower after reporting a wider than expected third quarter loss and providing disappointing guidance.
Electronic storage, steel, and brokerage stocks have also come under pressure, while most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves to the downside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dropped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 1.2 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are moving higher amid optimism about further bond purchases by the Fed. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.6 basis points at 1.618 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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