By RTT News, October 31, 2013, 12:07:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Stocks have fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Thursday, as traders continue to digest yesterday's monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve as well as some mixed earnings news and economic data.
The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line and are currently mixed. While the Nasdaq is up 3.24 points or 0.1 percent at 3,933.86, the Dow is down 24.89 points or 0.2 percent at 15,593.87 and the S&P 500 is down 0.78 points or less than 0.1 percent at 1,762.53.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as Wednesday's announcement from the Fed has generated some uncertainty about the outlook for monetary policy.
While the Fed maintained the pace of its asset purchases at $85 billion a month as was widely expected, the accompanying statement was seen as less dovish than anticipated.
The statement raised concerns that the Fed might not delay plans to begin tapering its stimulus program for as long as previously anticipated.
On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report before the start of trading showing that initial jobless claims fell by less than expected in the week ended October 26th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 340,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 350,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 335,000.
After several weeks of distortions, the Labor Department suggested that the latest numbers were clean, as California has addressed its technical issues and the federal government has reopened.
Meanwhile, MNI Indicators released a report showing a substantial acceleration in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of October.
MNI Indicators said the Chicago Business Barometer jumped to 65.9 in October from 55.7 in September, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in Chicago-area business activity. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 55.0.
Traders are also digesting mixed earnings news from big-name companies such as credit card giant Visa (V) and social media giant Facebook ( FB ).
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, substantial weakness remains visible among gold stocks. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index has plunged by 3.1 percent, pulling back further off the one-month highs set on Monday.
The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a sharp drop by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery tumbling $25.70 to $1,323.60 an ounce.
Trucking stocks have also come under pressure on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Trucking Index down by 1.5 percent. Con-way ( CNW ) has helped to lead the sector lower, falling by 9.1 percent after reporting disappointing third quarter results.
Meanwhile, networking stocks have shown a strong move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 1.6 percent. Alcatel-Lucent ( ALU ) has jumped by 14.2 percent on optimistic comments from CEO Michel Combes.
Notable strength has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rising by 1 percent to a six-year high.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved moderately lower, extending the pullback seen late in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.3 basis points at 2.56 percent.
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