Stocks Continue To Show A Lack Of Direction In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary
Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Monday after failing to sustain an initial upward move. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 27.58 points or 0.4 percent at 7,588.39, the Dow is down 126.66 points or 0.5 percent at 25,209.08 and the S&P 500 is down 1.81 points or 0.1 percent at 2,784.76.
The initial strength on Wall Street came as traders continued to react positively to the monthly jobs data released by the Labor Department last Friday.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 313,000 jobs in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 239,000 jobs in January.
Economists had expected employment to climb by 200,000 jobs, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.
Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent in February. The unemployment rate had been expected to dip to 4.0 percent.
The report also said the annual rate of growth in average hourly employee earnings fell to 2.6 percent in February from 2.8 percent in January.
However, traders seemed reluctant to continue pushing stocks higher amid a lack of major U.S. economic data on the day.
In the coming days, reports on consumer and producer price inflation, retail sales, regional manufacturing activity, housing starts and industrial production are likely to attract attention.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Tobacco stocks are seeing considerable strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index climbing by 1.3 percent. With the advance, the index has reached a record intraday high.
Semiconductor stocks are also seeing notable strength in mid-day trading, while weakness is visible among oil stocks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rallied by 1.7 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are showing a lack of direction following the pullback seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 2.887 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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