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Major Averages Finish Choppy Trading Session Mixed - U.S. Commentary


Following the rally seen last week, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday. The major averages spent much of the day lingering near the unchanged line before closing mixed.

The Dow edged down 12.87 points or 0.1 percent to 25,283.00, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs. The Nasdaq climbed 20.83 points or 0.3 percent to 7,157.39 and the S&P 500 rose 4.56 points or 0.2 percent to 2,747.71.

The choppy trading on the day came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following the recent run to record highs.

A lack of major U.S. economic data also kept traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of key reports on retail sales and producer and consumer prices later this week.

Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) are also due to report their quarterly results on Friday as earnings season gets underway.

Oil service stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 1.9 percent. With the gain, the index climbed to its best closing level in over eight months.

The strength among oil service stocks came amid an increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for February delivery rising $0.29 to $61.73 a barrel.

Considerable strength was also visible among railroad stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent advance by the Dow Jones Railroads Index. The index reached a record closing high.

Steel, networking, trucking and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength, while gold, biotechnology and airline stocks moved to the downside on the day.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction before ending the session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by less than a basis point to 2.480 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading activity on Tuesday may remain relatively subdued amid another quiet day on the U.S. economic front.

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