Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks have moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have slid firmly into negative territory, although the narrower Dow has shown a lack of direction.
Currently, the Nasdaq is down 114.52 points or 0.8 percent at 14,530.44 and the S&P 500 is down 16.23 points or 0.4 percent at 4,358.07. The Dow has been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line but is also currently down 3.36 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 34,929.87.
The weakness on Wall Street may partly reflected renewed concerns about the global economic outlook after a report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed Chinese GDP growth slowed by more than expected in the second quarter.
The report showed Chinese GDP grew 7.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, shy of expectations for a gain of 8.1 percent and down sharply from 18.3 percent in the three months prior.
Indications some central banks around the world are considering tightening monetary policy much sooner than the Federal Reserve may add to worries about the global economy.
Traders are also digesting a slew of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Federal Reserve showing industrial production increased by less than expected in the month of June.
The Fed said industrial production rose by 0.4 percent in June after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in May. Economists had expected industrial production to increase by 0.7 percent.
The weaker than expected growth was partly due to a 0.1 percent dip in manufacturing output, which came as an ongoing shortage of semiconductors contributed to a 6.6 percent nosedive in the production of motor vehicles and parts.
The Labor Department also released a report showing first-time claims for unemployment benefits decreased in line with economist estimates in the week ended July 10th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 360,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 386,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 360,000 from the 373,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the decrease, initial jobless claims once again fell to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. import prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of June.
Meanwhile, separate reports from the New York Federal Reserve and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed mixed readings on the pace of growth in manufacturing activity in the two regions.
Semiconductor stocks have moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 2 percent. The index is pulling back further off the record intraday high set in early trading on Wednesday.
Considerable weakness has also emerged among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent decline by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. With the drop, the index has fallen to a two-month intraday low.
On the other hand, banking stocks have shown a strong move to the upside on the day, with the KBW Bank Index climbing by 1.2 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both closed down by 1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have fluctuated over the course of the session and are currently higher. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down 3.7 basis points at 1.319 percent.
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