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U.S. Stocks Little Changed After Considerable Early Volatility

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After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks have seen substantial volatility over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages bounced well off their early lows and into positive territory but have pulled back into the red since then.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest losses. The Dow is down 24.60 points or 0.1 percent at 25,421.34, the Nasdaq is down 7.44 points or 0.1 percent at 9,901.73 and the S&P 500 is down 2.82 points or 0.1 percent at 3,047.51.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came amid renewed concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases after California, Texas and Florida all reported their biggest single-day increases in cases.

According to a tally by NBC News, the U.S. saw a record 45,557 reported Wednesday, surpassing the peak seen during the first wave of the coronavirus on April 26th.

Traders may be worried about the possibility of states reimposing restrictions on businesses, although the Trump administration has ruled out another lockdown.

Selling pressure waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders continue to express optimism about the economic outlook.

A report from the Labor Department showed a much smaller than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 20th, but the report also showed a notable decrease in continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance.

Continuing claims tumbled by 767,000 to 19.522 million in the week ended June 13th, hitting their lowest level since mid-April.

A separate report from the Commerce Department also showed a substantial rebound in durable goods orders in the month of May.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders spiked by 15.8 percent in May after plunging by a revised 18.1 percent in April.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to surge up by 10.9 percent compared to the 17.7 percent nosedive that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding a significant rebound in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders still jumped by 4.0 percent in May after tumbling by 8.2 percent in April. Economists had expected a 2.5 percent increase.

Oil service stocks have shown a substantial turnaround over the course of the morning after seeing initial weakness, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 2.3 percent. The index rebounded after hitting its lowest intraday level in a month.

The rebound by oil service stocks comes as the price of crude oil has also turned higher, as crude for August delivery is rising $0.33 to $38.34 a barrel after hitting a low of $37.08 a barrel.

Significant strength has also emerged among financial stocks, with the KBW Bank Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index both climbing by 1.4 percent.

The strength among financial stocks comes amid news U.S. regulators plan to ease banking regulations, including allowing banks to more easily make investments in riskier funds such as venture capital funds.

On the other hand, considerable weakness remains visible among utilities stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent drop by the Dow Jones Utility Average. The average has fallen to its lowest intraday level in a month.

Computer hardware stocks have also shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index down by 1.2 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.2 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index plummeted by 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their best levels but continue to see modest strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.5 basis points at 0.669 percent.

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