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U.S. Stocks Seeing Modest Weakness Amid Cautious Trading

wallstreet aug20 22may20 lt

Stocks are turning in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Friday after ending the previous session mostly lower. The major averages have all dipped into negative territory, although selling pressure has remained subdued.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest losses. The Dow is down 99.08 points or 0.4 percent at 24,375.04, the Nasdaq is down 9.49 points or 0.1 percent at 9,275.39 and the S&P 500 is down 6.63 points or 0.2 percent at 2,941.88.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make more significant moves as they digest the volatility seen over the past few sessions.

Stocks have see-sawed in recent days following the substantial rally on Monday, although the major averages are currently still poised to close higher for the week.

Concerns about rising tensions between the U.S. and China may also be keeping traders on the sidelines, as Beijing moved to strengthen control over Hong Kong with new security laws.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Washington would react "very strongly" if China follows through on its plans.

The latest developments come after the Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would potentially delist Chinese stocks from U.S. exchanges.

Overall trading activity may remain subdued due to the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, with some traders looking to get a head start on the long weekend.

Oil service stocks have moved sharply lower in morning trading, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 2.7 percent.

The sell-off by oil service stocks comes amid a sharp pullback by the price of crude oil, with crude for July delivery tumbling $1.44 to $32.48 a barrel.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is posting a steep loss after the computing giant reported fiscal second quarter results that missed analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Banking and steel stocks are also seeing significant weakness on the day, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved notably lower during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 5.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength after ending the previous session nearly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.6 basis points at 0.661 percent.

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