U.S. Stocks Move Moderately Lower Ahead Of Trump Press Conference

wallstreet oct03 29may20

Stocks have moved moderately lower in morning trading on Friday, extending the pullback seen late in the previous session. Selling pressure has remained somewhat subdued, however, limiting the downside for the major averages.

Currently, the major averages are all in the red, although the Nasdaq is down just 1.09 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 9,367.90. The Dow is down 131.78 points or 0.5 percent at 25,268.86 and the S&P 500 is down 9.93 points or 0.3 percent at 3,019.80.

The weakness on Wall Street comes as traders express concerns ahead of President Donald Trump's planned press conference on China.

Traders seem worried that Trump may impose sanctions on China after Beijing approved a controversial security law on Hong Kong that could dramatically erode the special administrative region's autonomy.

Trump has also repeatedly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, leading to rising tensions between the two economic superpowers.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report unexpectedly showing a substantial increase in U.S. personal income in the month of April, reflecting the distribution of stimulus checks by the federal government.

The Commerce Department said personal income spiked by 10.5 percent in April after tumbling by a revised 2.2 percent in March.

The jump in personal income came as a surprise to economists, who had expected income to plunge by 6.5 percent compared to the 2.0 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report showed a steep drop in personal spending, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The Commerce Department said personal spending plummeted by 13.6 percent in April after a revised 6.9 percent slump in March.

Economists had expected spending to tumble by 12.6 percent compared to the 7.5 percent nosedive originally reported for the previous month.

Oil service stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances, resulting in a 3.1 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

The sell-off by oil service stocks comes amid a modest decrease by the price of crude oil, with crude for July delivery falling $0.23 to $33.48 a barrel.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among banking stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent drop by the KBW Bank Index. The index continues to give back ground after reaching its best intraday level in well over two months in early trading on Thursday.

Telecom, tobacco and commercial real estate stocks are also seeing notable weakness on the day, while computer hardware and gold stocks have shown strong moves to the upside.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index inched up by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has fallen by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 1.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 1.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher following the modest drop seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.3 basis points at 0.672 percent.

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