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U.S. Stocks Move Modestly Lower After Seeing Initial Strength

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After showing an initial move to the upside, stocks have given back ground over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session and into negative territory.

Currently, the major averages are lingering modestly below the unchanged line. The Dow is down 40.22 points or 0.2 percent at 27,609.56, the Nasdaq is down 8.07 points or 0.1 percent at 8,558.60 and the S&P 500 is down 3.77 points or 0.1 percent at 3,108.99.

The downturn by stocks seemed to coincide with news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has asked the chairmen of the House committees investigating President Donald Trump to proceed with articles of impeachment.

Pelosi accused Trump of abusing his power for his own benefit by withholding military aid from Ukraine in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

"The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit," Pelosi said at a brief press conference. "The President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections."

She added, "His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes 'to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'"

The efforts to impeach Trump and remove him from office are likely to stall in the Republican-controlled Senate, although the proceedings still threaten to add to recent uncertainty.

Traders may also be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists expect employment to increase by 180,000 jobs in November after climbing by 128,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.

A day ahead of the release of the monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report this morning showing an unexpected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended November 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 203,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 213,000. The drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting 193,000 in the week ended April 13th.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in the month of October amid a notable decrease in the value of imports.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $47.2 billion in October from a revised $51.1 billion in September.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to narrow to $48.7 billion from the $52.5 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The narrower trade deficit came as the value of imports tumbled by 1.7 percent to $254.3 billion, while the value of exports edged down by 0.2 percent to $207.1 billion.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in morning trading, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Computer hardware and oil service stocks are seeing some strength on the day, while moderate weakness has emerged among networking stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and China's Shanghai Composite Index both ended the day up by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their lows of the session but continue to see modest weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.7 basis points at 1.798 percent.

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