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Stocks Continue To Turn In A Lackluster Performance - U.S. Commentary


With traders still reluctant to make any significant moves, stocks are turning in another lackluster performance during trading on Monday. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the S&P 500 is down 0.15 points or less than 0.1 percent at 2,378.10, the Dow is up 36.30 points or 0.2 percent at 20,950.92 and the Nasdaq is up 8.03 points or 0.1 percent at 5,909.03.

The lack of direction being shown by stocks comes as many traders are sticking to the sidelines amid a quiet day on the U.S. economic front.

The economic calendar remains relatively light throughout the week, although traders are likely to keep an eye on reports on new and existing home sales and durable goods orders.

Speeches by a number of Federal Reserve officials may also attract attention this week after the central bank's decision to raise interest rates by a quarter point last week.

In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said he voted against the rate hike because inflation is still below the central bank's 2 percent target.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off disappointment with the outcome of the G20 meeting, where finance ministers failed to agree on a commitment to keep global trade free and open.

The token reference to trade in the G20 communique was seen as a reflection of President Donald Trump's more protectionist policies.

Among individual stocks, shares of Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) have moved sharply higher after the lipid management company said the FDA confirmed that its LDL-C lowering program is adequate to support approval of an LDL-C lowering indication for bempedoic acid.

Aralez Pharmaceuticals (ARLZ) is also posting a notable gain following news CEO Adrian Adams acquired an additional 500,000 shares of the specialty pharmaceutical company's common stock.

Meanwhile, Aevi Genomic Medicine (GNMX) is posting a steep loss after revealing a SAGA trial of AEVI-001 in adolescents with mGluR mutation positive ADHD did not meet its primary endpoint.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Biotechnology stocks have shown a strong move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index climbing by 1.3 percent.

Within the biotech sector, Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) is posting a standout gain after announcing positive results from a study of its new opioid pain medication.

Notable strength is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The index has reached its best intraday level since 2000.

On the other hand, oil service stocks have come under pressure on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 1 percent. The weakness in the sector comes amid a drop by the price of crude oil.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.8 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index fell by 0.4 percent. The Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are down by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the upside, extending a recent upward trend. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.2 basis points at 2.479 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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