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Stocks Turning In Mixed Performance In Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary

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After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks are turning in a mixed performance in morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have moved in opposite directions, with the Nasdaq pulling back off yesterday's six-month closing high.

Currently, the Dow is up 103.63 points or 0.4 percent at 26,321.76, while the Nasdaq is down 19.31 points or 0.2 percent at 7,876.24 and the S&P 500 is down 0.46 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,872.94.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders await news on the U.S.-China trade front as well as the release of the monthly jobs report.

The markets have recently benefited from optimistic reports regarding progress in U.S.-China trade talks, although traders may be waiting for more concrete developments.

Traders are likely to keep an eye on any news out of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He later today.

The looming monthly jobs report is also keeping traders on the sidelines, with the Labor Department scheduled to release the March data on Friday.

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly data, the Labor Department released a report showing initial jobless claims slipped to their lowest level in nearly 50 years in the week ended March 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 202,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's revised level of 212,000.

The drop surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 216,000 from the 211,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the unexpected decrease, initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since hitting a matching number in December of 1969.

Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in morning trading.

Software stocks are seeing significant weakness, however, with the Dow Jones Software Index slumping by 1.3 percent after ending the previous session at a record closing high.

Oil service and computer hardware stocks are also seeing notable weakness on the day, while some strength has emerged among banking stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved slightly higher after trending lower over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by nearly a basis point at 2.508 percent.

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