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Stocks Regain Ground After Initial Move To The Downside - U.S. Commentary


After an initial move to the downside, stocks have regained ground over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have climbed off their lows of the session but are currently in negative territory.

The Dow is down 124.83 points or 0.5 percent at 24,759.29, the Nasdaq is down 3.76 points or 0.1 percent at 7,368.25 and the S&P 500 is down 8.37 points or 0.3 percent at 2,719.75.

The initial decline by stocks came as traders reacted to news of the resignation of White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn.

The resignation by Cohn, a free trade advocate, comes after President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In a statement, Trump said Cohn did a "superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again."

Trump said in a post on Twitter that he would make a decision on a new chief economic advisor "soon," adding, "Many people wanting the job - will choose wisely!"

In U.S. economic news, payroll processor ADP released a report private sector employment increased by more than expected in the month of February.

ADP said employment in the private sector jumped by 235,000 jobs in February after surging up by a revised 244,000 jobs in January.

Economists had expected an increase of about 195,000 jobs compared to the addition of 234,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the trade deficit widened by more than expected in the month of January.

The report said the trade deficit widened to $56.6 billion in January from $53.9 billion in December. The deficit had been expected to widen to $55.1 billion.

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts that may shed light on the outlook for interest rates.

After moving sharply higher in the previous session, gold stocks are giving back ground in morning trading. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 1 percent after jumping by 2 percent on Tuesday.

The pullback by gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, with gold for April delivery falling $5.20 to $1,330 an ounce.

Oil service and retail stocks are also seeing some weakness on the day, although most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dropped by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped by 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed over the course of the session. While the French CAC 40 Index is just below the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are turning in another lackluster performance after ending the previous session roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 2.872 percent.

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