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Major Averages Turn Mixed After Seeing Initial Weakness - U.S. Commentary


After initially moving to the downside, the major averages have turned mixed over the course of morning trading on Friday. While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 remain in the red, the narrower Dow has climbed into positive territory.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. The Dow is up 36.21 points or 0.2 percent at 21,820.99, but the Nasdaq is down 22.02 points or 0.3 percent at 6,375.85 and the S&P 500 is down 1.95 points or 0.1 percent at 2,463.15.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came amid concerns about the economic impact of Hurricane Irma, with the massive storm expected to make landfall in Florida early Sunday.

While Irma was downgraded from a category 5 to a category 4, FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned the hurricane continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the U.S. in either Florida or some of the southeastern states.

The approach of Irma comes close on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which led to widespread devastation and flooding in Texas.

Selling pressure was also generated due to worries about North Korea, which is celebrating a holiday on Saturday that could be a key date for another intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

The subsequent rebound by the Dow is partly due to notable advances by Travelers (TRV), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Home Depot (HD).

Energy stocks are seeing considerable weakness in morning trading, potentially reflecting concerns about the impact of Hurricane Irma. The weakness in the sector also comes as crude oil for October delivery is slipping $0.30 to $48.79 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is down by 2.6 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.8 percent.

Gold, steel, semiconductor, and telecom stocks have also moved notably lower, while strength is visible among financial and housing stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is just below the unchanged line and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have turned lower over the course of the session after seeing initial strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.1 basis points at 2.072.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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