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Midday Update: Dow Comes Up For Air as 50-Day Moving Average Remains Intact

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average has clawed its way into positive territory, leaving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in the red as the blue chip index continues to find solid support at its 50-day moving average, and as the dollar trims some of its overnight losses against the yen and euro. Gains in the financial sector offset losses in energy shares with Dow advancers nearly evenly matched with decliners.

The major averages were defensive at the open as the persistent weakness in the dollar coupled with the expected cost of two catastrophic hurricanes spooked investors. After struggling for direction for the first few minutes of trade, the Dow pushed higher, aided by technical support and remarks from NY Fed president William Dudley about the questionable timing of the next Fed rate hike.

This morning's economic data had little impact on the markets. July wholesale inventories increased 0.6%, slightly above expectations, while sales fell 0.1%, missing forecasts for a 0.5% gain.

In corporate news, shares of Equifax ( EFX ) continued to decline after the company disclosed a data breach in July that affected 143 million consumers. Immediately after the news broke, two plaintiffs in Oregon filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the company chose profits over additional security measures.

European markets continued to be negatively affected by the strengthening euro, as well as geopolitical risks that has undermined investor confidence. As the joint currency rose to another 2 and-a-half year high against the dollar, EU bourses retreated further into negative territory, led by losses in mining after China reported a narrower trade surplus in August.

Crude oil was down $0.088 to $48.21 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.079 to $2.90 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.80 to $1,351.20 an ounce, while silver was up $0.004 to $18.12 an ounce. Copper was down $0.10 to $3.04 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.88% to $9.84 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.87% to $6.43. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.83% to 25.25 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.07% to $128.04. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.47% to $17.02.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was up 8.73 points (+0.07%) to 11,888.34

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 39.92 points (+0.18%) to 21,824.75

S&P 500 was down 2.16 points (-0.09%) to 2,462.17

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.09 points (-0.40%) to 6,372.08

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 19.38 points (-0.26%) to 7,377.60

DAX was up 7.35 points (+0.06%) to 12,303.98

CAC 40 was down 1.13 points (-0.02%) to 5,113.49

Nikkei 225 was down 121.70 points (-0.63%) to 19,274.82

Hang Seng Index was up 145.55 points (+0.53%) to 27,668.47

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.25 points (-0.01%) to 3,365.24

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 102.89 points (+1.00%) to 10,190.57

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 43.37 points (+0.59%) to 7,433.59

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 83.21 points (+0.60%) to 13,951.78

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) ONS (+92.11%) Received $25 million equity investment, enters licensing deal with GMS Tenshi Holdings

(+) KURA (+88.32%) Reported top-line results from phase 2 trial of tipifarnib

(+) ZUMZ (+21.02%) Reported narrower-than-expected Q2 loss, sales beat expectations

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) TNTR (-27.68%) Reported lower-than-expected fiscal Q1 revenue

(-) AOBC (-17.27%) Missed Q1 estimates, issued weaker-than-expected FY guidance

(-) EFX (-12.38%) Confirms security breach that could impact 143,000 individuals

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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