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U.S. Stocks Close Mixed Following Choppy Trading Session

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Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Friday following the sharp pullback seen during the previous session. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Eventually, the major averages ended the session mixed. While the Nasdaq fell 66.05 points or 0.6 percent to 10,853.55, the S&P 500 inched up 1.78 points or 0.1 percent to 3,340.97 and the Dow climbed 131.06 points or 0.5 percent to 27,665.64.

The major averages all posted steep losses for the holiday-shortened week. The Nasdaq plunged by 4.1 percent, the S&P 500 tumbled by 2.5 percent and the Dow slumped by 1.7 percent.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves following the substantial volatility seen over the past several sessions.

Stocks saw early strength on Thursday, extending the notable rebound from the three-day sell-off that was seen on Wednesday.

Buying interest waned over the course of the session, however, leading to another tech sector-led drop by the broader markets.

Many of the big-name tech stocks showed only modest moves in today's session, although Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) posted notable losses.

Traders may also have been looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision scheduled for next Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to leave rates at near-zero levels but could make tweaks to its accompanying statement. The central bank's latest economic projections may also attract some attention.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing consumer prices increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of August.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in August after advancing by 0.6 percent for two straight months. Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still rose by 0.4 percent in August following a 0.6 percent increase in July. Core consumer prices were expected to edge up by 0.2 percent.

Sector News

Despite the lackluster performance by the broader markets, steel stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day. The NYSE Arca Steel Index surged up by 2 percent but remained stuck in a month-long trading range.

Considerable strength was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Chemical, banking and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while gold stocks came under pressure amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal.

With gold for December delivery tumbling $16.40 to $1,947.90 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index slumped by 1.7 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries saw modest strength after turning positive over the course of the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped 1.6 basis points to 0.669 percent.

Looking Ahead

The Fed announcement is likely to be in focus next week along with reports on industrial production, retail sales, homebuilder confidence and housing starts.

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