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Major Averages Just Below The Unchanged Line In Mid-Day Trading

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After turning lower earlier in the session, stocks continue to see modest weakness in mid-day trading on Thursday. Selling pressure has remained relatively subdued, however, limiting the downside for the major averages.

Currently, the major averages remain slightly lower. The Dow is down 36.52 points or 0.1 percent at 27,613.26, the Nasdaq is down 4.18 points or 0.1 percent at 8,562.49 and the S&P 500 is down 1.28 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 3,111.48.

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.

Nonetheless, traders seem 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.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Gold stocks have shown a notable move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1.1 percent.

The strength in the gold sector comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for February delivery is rising $4.30 to $1,484.50 an ounce.

Computer hardware and oil service stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while retail and networking stocks have moved to the downside.

Other Markets

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 turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just above the unchanged line, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both fell by 0.7 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 1.6 basis points at 1.797 percent.

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