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U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Lower Amid Renewed Tech Weakness

wallstreet sept13 18sep20 lt

After showing a lack of direction earlier in the session, stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Friday. The Dow continues to show only a modest move, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq has slid firmly into negative territory.

The major averages have regained some ground in recent trading but are currently all in the red. The Dow is down 28.91 points or 0.1 percent at 27,873.07, while the Nasdaq is down 81.93 points or 0.8 percent at 10,828.35 and the S&P 500 is down 15.59 points or 0.5 percent at 3,341.42.

The weakness that has emerged on Wall Street comes as technology stocks have come under pressure, with tech giant Apple (AAPL) showing a significant drop.

Shares of Apple, which have been a key driver of the markets in most recent sessions, are currently slumping by 2.6 percent to its lowest intraday level in well over a month.

Big-name tech companies like Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), and Microsoft (MSFT) are also posting notable losses.

Nonetheless, traders seem somewhat reluctant to make more significant moves following the substantial volatility seen over the past several sessions.

Stocks started the week on an upbeat note, regaining ground after falling sharply last week, but selling pressure re-emerged following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

While the Fed indicated it plans to leave interest rates at near-zero levels for years to come, traders seem skeptical that will be enough to support the economy.

With the elections less than two months away, lawmakers currently seem unlikely to pass another stimulus bill to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Recent economic data suggests the rebound from the lockdown-induced economic collapse may be plateauing, raising concerns about the possibility of a double-dip.

A report released by the Conference Board showed a continued increase by its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of August, although the pace of growth slowed compared to recent months.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index jumped by 1.2 percent in August after surging up by 2.0 percent in July and spiking by 3.1 percent in June. Economists had expected the index to increase by 1.3 percent.

Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board, said the slowdown in the pace of improvement "suggests that this summer's economic rebound may be losing steam heading into the final stretch of 2020."

Meanwhile, a separate report from the University of Michigan showed a much bigger than expected improvement in consumer sentiment in the month of September.

Sector News

Airline stocks have moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the NYSE Arca Airline Index down by 2.3 percent. The index continues to give back ground after reaching a three-month closing high on Wednesday.

Significant weakness has also emerged among software stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent drop by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index. Currently, the index is on pace to end the session at its lowest closing level in over a month.

Semiconductor and computer hardware stocks have also come under pressure on the day, contributing to the continued decline by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Interest rate-sensitive commercial real estate stocks are also moving notably lower despite the Fed's pledge to keep rates persistently low, while some strength remains visible among steel stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index spiked by 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both slid by 0.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries continue to show a lack of direction after closing nearly flat for four straight sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 0.689 percent.

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