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U.S. Stocks Giving Back Ground After Early Rally

wallstreet sept06 12dec19 lt

After moving sharply higher early in the session, stocks have given back some ground over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages reached new record intraday highs in early trading but have pulled back well off their best levels since then.

Currently, the major averages are holding on to moderate gains. The Dow is up 123.45 points or 0.4 percent at 28,034.75, the Nasdaq is up 26.42 points or 0.3 percent at 8,680.47 and the S&P 500 is up 15.95 points or 0.5 percent at 3,157.58.

The early rally on Wall Street comes after President Donald Trump expressed optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal.

"Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!" Trump said in a post on Twitter just after the start of trading.

Trump has repeatedly expressed optimism about a trade deal but has previously suggested China wants to reach an agreement more than the U.S.

Buying interest has waned over the course of the session, however, as traders wait for more concrete developments on trade front.

A report from Reuters said Trump is expected to meet with top trade advisers today to discuss current plans to raise tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese goods on December 15th.

Reuters said officials circulated talking points ahead of the meeting downplaying the repercussions the new tariffs would have on the U.S. economy.

Three sources familiar with the plans told Reuters the senior trade advisers are expected to present divergent views during the high-stakes meeting, with the final decision up to Trump.

Reports earlier this week suggested the U.S. would likely delay imposing the new tariffs to avoid agitating China amid an ongoing negotiations toward a phase one trade deal.

Following the tweet from Trump, traders largely shrugged off a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims jumped to a two-year high in the week ended December 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims surged up to 252,000, an increase of 49,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 203,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 213,000.

With the much bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 257,000 in September of 2017.

However, Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said the spike in jobless claims "most likely reflects seasonal adjustment problems around the Thanksgiving holiday rather than a genuine sudden deterioration in labor market conditions."

A separate Labor Department report showed U.S. producer prices came in unchanged in the month of November, as higher prices for goods offset lower prices for services.

Sector News

Oil service stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in morning trading, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 2.7 percent to its best intraday level in nearly three months.

The rally by oil service stocks comes amid an increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for January delivery climbing $0.62 to $59.38 a barrel.

Considerable strength has also emerged among banking stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent jump by the KBW Bank Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in well over a year.

Natural gas, networking and semiconductor stocks are also seeing significant strength on the day, while commercial real estate stocks have come under pressure over the course of the session.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, has jumped by 9.2 basis points to 1.882 percent.

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