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Moderate Weakness Remains Visible On Wall Street

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After moving to the downside early in the session, stocks continue to see moderate weakness in mid-day trading on Thursday. With the drop in the day, the major averages are adding to the losses posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages remain stuck in the red but off their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 74.67 points or 0.3 percent at 27,746.42, the Nasdaq is down 31.91 points or 0.4 percent at 8,494.82 and the S&P 500 is down 8.28 points or 0.3 percent at 3,100.18.

The continued weakness on Wall Street partly reflects renewed uncertainty about the U.S. and China finalizing a phase one trade deal.

On Wednesday, a report from Reuters said completion of a phase one U.S.-China trade deal could slide into next year.

Trade experts and people briefed on the talks told Reuters a deal is still elusive and negotiations may be getting more complicated.

Reuters said the delay in signing the deal comes as China presses for more extensive tariff rollbacks, and the Trump administration counters with heightened demands of its own.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he has not made a trade deal with China yet because Beijing is not "stepping up to the level that I want."

Meanwhile, a report from the Wall Street Journal said China's chief trade negotiator has invited his American counterparts to Beijing for a new round of face-to-face talks.

Citing people briefed on the matter, the WSJ said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He extended the invitation to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a phone call late last week.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits came in unchanged in the week ended November 16th.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 227,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 219,000 from the 225,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the unchanged figure, jobless claims are hovering at their highest level since hitting 229,000 in the week ended June 22.

A separate report released by the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales in the U.S. rebounded by more than expected in the month of October.

NAR said existing home sales jumped by 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 5.46 million in October after tumbling by 2.5 percent to a revised rate of 5.360 million in September.

Economists had expected existing home sales to surge up by 1.4 percent compared to the 2.2 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves in mid-day trading, although notable weakness has emerged among semiconductor stocks.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index has slid by 1.2 percent, pulling back further off the record closing high set last Friday.

Gold stocks have also moved to the downside on the day, with a decrease by the price of the precious metal weighing on the sector.

Commercial real estate and computer hardware stocks are also seeing some weakness, while tobacco and brokerage stocks have moved higher.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 1.6 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both edged down by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have given back some ground after moving notably higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.9 basis points at 1.767 percent.

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