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Major Averages Remain Mixed In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks continue to turn in a mixed performance in mid-day trading on Thursday after moving in opposite directions early in the session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is pulling back after ending the previous session at a six-month closing high.

Currently, the Nasdaq is down 22.45 points or 0.3 percent at 7,873.10, while the Dow is up 130.25 points or 0.5 percent at 26,348.38 and the S&P 500 is up 0.23 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,873.63.

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.

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, considerable weakness remains visible among software stocks.

After ending the previous session at a new record closing high, the Dow Jones Software Index is slumping by 1.6 percent.

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while housing and banking stocks have moved to the upside.

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 also ended the day mixed. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slipped by 0.2 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 2.510 percent.

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