News Column

Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading - US Commentary

August 14, 2014



WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - After ending the previous session firmly in positive territory, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in early trading on Thursday. The major averages moved slightly higher at the open but have been lingering near the unchanged line since then.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 11.67 points or 0.1% at 16,663.47, the Nasdaq is up 2.23 points or 0.1% at 4,436.36 and the S&P 500 is up 2.54 points or 0.1% at 1,949.26.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders are digesting mixed news, including calming remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin and disappointing US jobs data.

Putin generated some positive sentiment earlier in the morning, as he claimed that Russia will do everything possible to end the conflict between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists.

"We will do all we can to end the conflict as soon as possible, to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine," Putin said in a meeting with members of State Duma political party groups in Crimea.

However, the buying interest was partly offset by a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims rose by more than expected in the week ended August 9th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 311,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week's revised level of 290,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge up to 295,000.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed that import prices fell slightly less than expected in July amid a notable pullback by fuel prices.

Traders are also digesting quarterly results and guidance from corporate giants Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Wal-Mart (WMT).

Shares of Cisco have moved notably lower after the networking giant reported fourth quarter earnings and revenues that topped expectations but issued lukewarm guidance for the first quarter. The company also announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is nearly unchanged after reporting second quarter earnings that matched analyst estimates on revenues that came in above expectations. The retail giant cut its full-year profit forecast.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in early trading, contributing to the lack of direction being shown by the broader markets.

Gold stocks are seeing significant strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1.2%. The strength in the sector comes amid a modest increase by the price of gold.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in yet another mixed performance on Thursday. Japan'sNikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7%, while Hong Kong'sHang Seng Index fell by 0.4%.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has edged up by 0.1%, the German DAX Index and the UK'sFTSE 100 Index are up by 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher on the heels of the disappointing jobs data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.5 basis points at 2.398%.



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Source: Alliance News


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