Major Averages Continue To Turn In Mixed Performance

Stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Thursday, with the major averages showing only modest moves following the volatility seen over the past few sessions.

Currently, the major averages continue to turn in a mixed performance. While the Dow is down 36.31 points or 0.1 percent at 34,101.00, the Nasdaq is up 42.09 points or 0.3 percent at 13,992.31 and the S&P 500 is up 2.10 points or 0.1 percent at 4,175.52.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.

The steady advance by the markets throughout most of the past year has led to some concerns about stock valuations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks have largely refrained from an extended pullback, however, as traders seem wary of selling stocks and missing out on further upside.

Some analysts have warned that a market correction is overdue and suggested a continued advance could exacerbate the pullback.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a continued decline in initial jobless claims in the week ended April 17.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 547,000, a decrease of 39,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 586,000.

The continued drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to rebound to 617,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims slid to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing another steep drop in U.S. existing home sales in the month of March.

NAR said existing home sales tumbled by 3.7 percent to an annual rate of 6.01 million in March after plunging by 6.3 percent to a revised rate of 6.24 million in February.

Economists had expected existing home sales to dip by 0.5 percent to a rate of 6.19 million from the 6.22 million originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Gold stocks have shown a significant move to the downside, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index falling by 1.8 percent.

The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, as gold for June delivery is sliding $14.10 to $1,779 an ounce.

On the other hand, airline stocks have moved notably higher, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 1.1 percent. The index continues to rebound after ending Tuesday’s trading at a two-month closing low.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.4 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have turned lower over the course of the session after seeing early strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.8 basis points at 1.582 percent.

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