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Stocks Continue To Experience Choppy Trading Amid Lack Of Data - U.S. Commentary

Wallstreet4 111212 13Jan14

Stocks continue to show a lack of direction in mid-day trading on Monday, extending the lackluster trend seen over the past few sessions.

The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, although they are all nearly flat. While the Nasdaq is up 3.43 points or 0.1 percent at 4,178.10, the Dow is down 18.48 points or 0.1 percent at 16,418.57 and the S&P 500 is down 1.29 points or 0.1 percent at 1,841.08.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes amid a lack of major U.S. economic data following the disappointing jobs report released last Friday.

The economic calendar will see increased activity later in the week, with traders likely to keep a close eye on reports on retail sales, housing starts and industrial production.

Earnings season will also pick up steam in the coming days, as JP Morgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), UnitedHealth (UNH), Intel (INTC), and General Electric (GE) are due to report their quarterly results.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although considerable strength is visible in the networking sector The NYSE Arca Networking Index has surged up by 2.3 percent, with Juniper (JNPR) leading the way higher after Elliott Management announced a value plan for the company.

Meanwhile, oil and oil service stocks have come under pressure on the day, with the NYSE Arca Oil Index and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index falling by 1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. A decrease by the price of crude oil is weighing on the sectors.

Among individual stocks, shares of Beam (BEAM) have moved sharply higher after the whiskey maker agreed to be acquired by Suntory Holdings for $83.50 per share in cash or a total consideration of approximately $16 billion, including the assumption of Beam's outstanding debt.

Fast-food restaurant chain Wendy's (WEN) is also turning in a strong performance after forecasting fourth quarter earnings above analyst estimates. The company also provided upbeat guidance for 2014.

Meanwhile, shares of Lululemon (LULU) have shown a steep drop after the yogawear retailer cut its fourth quarter guidance due to weak sales in January.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished Monday's trading mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index dropped by 0.4 percent. The Japanese markets remained closed for a holiday.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both ended the day up by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength, extending the rally that was seen last Friday. 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 2.845 percent.

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