After showing a lack of direction early in the session, stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Friday. The choppy trading comes after the S&P 500 ended the previous session at a new record closing high.
Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 12.25 points or 0.1 percent at 14,032.59, the Dow is down 99.94 points or 0.3 percent at 34,366.30 and the S&P 500 is down 3.71 points or 0.1 percent at 4,235.47.
Traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting scheduled for next week.
The Fed is widely expected to leave its monetary policy unchanged, but traders will be looking for any clues the central bank is considering tapering its asset purchases.
Yesterday’s report from the Labor Department showed consumer price inflation reached the highest level in nearly thirteen years in May, although Fed officials have repeatedly downplayed the risks of prolonged inflation.
Traders will likely pay close attention to any changes to the Fed’s comments about inflation, with previous statements largely attributing rising inflation to “transitory factors.”
In U.S. economic news, preliminary data released by the University of Michigan showed a bigger than expected rebound in consumer sentiment in the month of June.
The report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 86.4 in June after falling to 82.9 in May. Economists had expected the index to rise to 84.0.
Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves in mid-day trading.
Gold stocks are seeing considerable weakness after yesterday’s rally, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index falling by 1.7 percent.
The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, as gold for August delivery is sliding $14.20 to $1,882.20 an ounce.
Pharmaceutical stocks are also giving back ground following recent strength, with the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index down by 1.3 percent after ending the previous session at a record closing high.
On the other hand, brokerage stocks are turning in a strong performance on the day, resulting in a 1.1 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed just below the unchanged line, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction after trending higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.464 percent.
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