Midday Update: Stocks Directionless After Mixed Economic Data; Treasury Yields Continue To Fall

Stocks were again treading water Friday following the release of mixed economic data on consumer sentiment and spending failed to provide much direction. But while the S&P 500 earlier was the plus side, reaching another record high, the Dow Industrials Average has been plagued by economic worries also influencing Treasury market activity. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note - seen as an economic barometer - was down another 2 basis points today to 2.47%, causing concern among equity traders over valuations and underlying economic weakness.

Today's economic report on personal income was just slightly below expectations for April, increasing only 0.3% versus the consensus estimate for a 0.4% gain. This was accompanied by a surprise 0.1% decline in spending - versus estimates for a 0.2% gain - led largely by a drop in heating costs. Offsetting the drop in April spending, however, was an upward revision in March to a 1.0% rise from the 0.9% gain originally reported.

Mixed spending and income was followed with strong gain in the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index to 65.5 in May, well above estimates of 61.0 and up from a 63.0 reading the month prior.

Finally, Reuters/University of Michigan found that consumer sentiment declined in May, falling to a 81.9 index reading from 84.1 in April and trailing the 82.5 index reading Wall Street expected.

In Europe, stocks are unchanged to mostly lower as weak German retail sales and another decline in Italian inflation data weighs despite the impending likelihood for another EU rate cut in less than a week.

Crude oil was down $0.80 to $102.75 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.04 to $4.52 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $11.40 to $1,245.70 an ounce, while silver was down $0.25 to $18.78 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $3.13 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.74% to $37.63 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.15% to $25.02. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.00% to 22.03 while SPDR Gold Shares was down 0.86% to $119.89. The iShares Silver Trust was down 1.42% to $18.05.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 11.83 (-0.11%) to 10,740.29

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 22.70 (-0.14%) to 16,676.04

S&P 500 down 0.89 (-0.05%) to 1,919.14

Nasdaq Composite Index down 12.13 (-0.29%) to 4,235.82


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.34%

Hang Seng Index up 0.31%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.07%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.39%

CAC 40 down 0.24%

DAX up 0.04%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.38%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.01%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.01%


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(-) EXPR (-10.27%) Reported disappointing Q1 earnings.

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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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