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U.S. Stocks Close Mixed For Second Straight Session

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Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Monday, extending the lackluster performance seen last Friday. The major averages once again spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing mixed.

While the Dow inched up 38.05 points or 0.1 percent to 26,835.51, its best closing level in over a month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 15.64 points or 0.2 percent to 8,087.44 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.28 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,978.43.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came amid a light day on the U.S. economic front, with a lack of major data keeping some traders on the sidelines.

Reports on producer and consumer price inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Meanwhile, traders expressed some optimism about further stimulus from global central banks, with the European Central Bank expected to cut interest rates at a meeting on Thursday.

Expectations for another interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve next week were also bolstered by last Friday's weaker than expected jobs data.

Data from China showing an unexpected drop in exports in August has also added to the hopes of more stimulus to stave off a global recession.

Official data showed Chinese exports in August unexpectedly fell by 1 percent compared to year ago, reflecting the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S.

Subsequently, the trade war also remained on investors' minds, although traders seem optimistic about high-level trade talks scheduled for next month.

Some political observers have suggested President Donald Trump may soften his stance on China in order to reach an agreement and prevent a U.S. recession just before Election Day.

Sector News

Despite the lackluster performance by the broader markets, energy stocks moved sharply higher amid a notable increase by the price of crude oil. Crude for October delivery jumped $1.33 to $57.85 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index soared by 6.5 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

Substantial strength was also visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 3.6 percent spike by the KBW Bank Index. The strength in the sector reflected the optimism about more global stimulus.

Steel, transportation and computer hardware stocks also saw considerable strength on the day, while gold stocks moved sharply lower amid a drop by the price of the precious metal.

With gold for December delivery sliding $4.40 to $1,511.10 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index tumbled by 3.1 percent.

Pharmaceutical and software stocks also showed notable moves to the downside, offsetting the strength seen in the aforementioned sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a notable move back to the downside after last Friday's rebound. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 7.2 basis points to 1.622 percent.

Looking Ahead

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

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