After showing a strong move to the upside early in the session, stocks have given back ground over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The S&P 500 reached a new record intraday high but has pulled back along with the other major averages.
Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 56.79 points or 0.2 percent at 34,503.93, the Nasdaq is up 18.39 points or 0.1 percent at 13,930.14 and the S&P 500 is up 7.93 points or 0.2 percent at 4,227.48,
The volatility on Wall Street comes following the release of a highly anticipated Labor Department report showing a bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in the month of May.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.6 percent in May after climbing by 0.8 percent in April. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.4 percent.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices climbed by 0.7 percent in May following a 0.9 percent advance in April. Core prices were also expected to rise by 0.4 percent.
The report also showed consumer prices in May were up by 5.0 percent compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting the biggest spike since August of 2008.
The annual rate of core consumer price growth also accelerated to 3.8 percent in May, which represents the biggest jump since June of 1992.
While the faster rate of inflation may lead the Federal Reserve to consider tightening monetary policy, traders remain optimistic about the economic outlook.
Adding to the positive sentiment about the economy, the Labor Department released a separate report showing another modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits.
The report showed initial jobless claims edged down to 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 385,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 370,000.
With the slight drop, jobless claims once again fell to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
Despite the pullback by the broader markets, pharmaceutical stocks continue to see significant strength on the day. The NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index is currently up by 1.3 percent after reaching a record intraday high.
Notable strength also remains visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.
On the other hand, housing stocks have moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.1 percent to its lowest intraday level in over two months.
Airline stocks have also shown a significant move to the downside on the day, resulting in a 1.7 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have bounced back near the unchanged line after coming under pressure early in the session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.496 percent.
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