Wall Street's benchmark averages were treading water on Thursday with the Dow propped up by gains in the financial sector as the attention of investors shifts from the midterm elections to the outcome to the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were trading modestly lower as disappointing earnings weigh.
Although the FOMC is not expected to adjust interest rates, the committee is expected to signal another tightening in December as well as provide clues to the path of monetary policy in 2019.
Before Thursday's cash open, the election-fueled rally started to run out of steam as investors digested downbeat earnings from Prudential ( PRU ), DR Horton ( DHI ) and Wynn ( WYNN ), while disappointing guidance from Qualcomm ( QCOM ) and Square ( SQ ) weighed on the technology sector.
The surprise resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and its possible implications for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 presidential election also encouraged investors to exercise caution in Thursday's trading.
On the economic front, initial jobless claims dipped another 1,000 to a 45-year low of 214,000 in the latest survey week, slightly above 213,000 estimates.
Overseas markets were mixed with China's swelling trade surplus fueling early gains in the Shanghai before evaporating later in the session. A 15.6% increase in imports coupled with a 21.4% gain in exports pushed China's surplus to CNY34.02 billion from CNY31.7 billion previously.
European bourses were mostly lower although losses were mitigated by positive quarterly results from the banking sector and a weaker euro and British pound.
Crude oil was down $0.61 to $61.06 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.03 to $3.53 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $4.60 to $1,224.10 an ounce, while silver was down $0.15 to $14.41 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $2.73 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.07% to $12.92 with the United States Natural Gas Fund up 0.14% to $28.72. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.20% to 19.30 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.27% to $115.71. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.84% to $13.56.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was down 7.12 points (-0.06%) to 12,671.98
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 58.34 points (+0.22%) to 26,238.64
S&P 500 was down 5.25 points (-0.19%) to 2,808.44
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.51 points (-0.35%) to 7,544.24
FTSE 100 was up 23.40 points (+0.33%) to 7140.68
DAX was down 51.78 points (-0.45%) to 11527.32
CAC 40 was down 6.49 points (-0.13%) to 5131.45
Nikkei 225 was up 401.12 points (+1.82%) to 22486.92
Hang Seng Index was up 80.03 points (+0.31%) to 26227.72
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 5.71 points (-0.22%) to 2635.63
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 145.07 points (-1.29%) to 11,127.29
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 30.35 points (+0.39%) to 7,835.96
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 65.07 points (+0.40%) to 16,258.46
(+) NK (+31.92%) Reports 'promising' results of CD16 immunotherapy
(+) PTLA (+21.01%) Q3 loss narrows, revenue expands, beat expectations
(+) SND (+18.82%) Beat Q3 expectations, announced 2 million share repurchase plan
(-) COMM (-24.04%) Q3 results miss estimates; To acquire Arris
(-) PRGO (-14.96%) Reported better-than-expected EPS on below consensus revenue, lowers FY guidance
(-) WYNN (-12.21%) Q3 EPS below consensus