(RTTNews.com) - After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages have climbed well off their worst levels of the day but remain in negative territory.
Currently, the major averages are posting modest losses on the day. The Dow is down 65.51 points or 0.3 percent at 25,133.78, the Nasdaq is down 5.03 points or 0.1 percent at 7,849.41 and the S&P 500 is down 5.90 points or 0.2 percent at 2,809.72.
The early weakness on Wall Street was partly due to profit taking following the upward trend seen over the past several sessions.
Recent strength in the markets lifted the Nasdaq to a record closing high on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 ended the previous session at its best closing level in over five months. The Dow also reached a monthly closing high.
A negative reaction to earnings news from several big-name companies also weighed on the markets in early trading.
Shares of eBay (EBAY) have moved sharply lower after the e-commerce giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings but provided disappointing full-year guidance.
Insurance giant Travelers (TRV) has also come under pressure after reporting second quarter earnings below analyst estimates.
Shares of American Express ( AXP ) have also moved to the downside after the credit card giant reported second quarter earnings that beat expectations but on weaker than expected revenues.
On the other hand, shares of IBM Corp. (IBM) have jumped after the tech giant reported second quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.
The negative sentiment may have partly been offset by a report from the Labor Department showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped to their lowest level in almost five decades in the week ended July 14th.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell to 207,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level of 215,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 220,000.
With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 202,000 in December of 1969.
A separate report from the Conference Board also showed a slightly bigger than expected increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of June.
Despite the recovery attempt by the broader markets, steel stocks continue to see substantial weakness in mid-day trading. The NYSE Arca Steel Index is slumping by 2.5 percent after moving sharply higher over the two previous sessions.
Considerable weakness also remains visible among tobacco stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index. The index has rebounded from the nearly two-month intraday low seen earlier in the session.
Philip Morris (PM) led the tobacco sector lower after reporting better than expected second quarter results but lowering its full-year guidance.
Pharmaceutical, financial, and telecom stocks also continue to see notable weakness, while housing and utilities stocks have moved to the upside on the day.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both slid by 0.6 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries continue to see modest strength after turning higher in morning trading. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.7 basis points at 2.858 percent.
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