Midday Update: Stocks Pause From Recent Rally, Eyeing Developments With Syria, Interest Rates

After three days of triple-digit gains, the Dow Jones Industrials Average is struggling to stay on the plus side today with stocks trading flat to slightly lower.

Prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria appear to have taken a slight turn for the worse after Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized U.S. actions thus far in the conflict, rekindling worries over a possible military strike. The markets also increasingly are looking to next week's meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee and the central bank's likely decision to scale back its massive bond-buying stimulus efforts.

A large, apparent drop in first-time unemployment insurance claims is now generating scant market interest after the Labor Department explained last week's 31,000 decline in initial claims was significantly influenced by computer issues in reports from two states.

In other economic news today, export prices fell 0.5% during in August, lagging market consensus for a 0.1% increase. Import prices also came in below consensus, with little change last month compared to the prior month while trailing estimates for a 0.5% gain.

In Europe, stocks finished little changed in concert with U.S. markets. Initially, however, indices were pressured by weaker than expected EU economic data and dovish comments regarding UK interest rates from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. EU industrial production fell while the Greek jobless rate notched higher, sparking concerns of a continued bail-out.

Crude oil was up $0.52 to $108.13 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.08 to $3.72 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $33.30 to $1,330.60 an ounce, while silver was down $0.89 to $22.28 an ounce. Copper was down $0.05 to $3.20 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.74% to $38.77 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 2.59% to $19.19. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 3.88% to 25.80 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 2.42% to $128.49. The iShares Silver Trust was down 3.81% to $21.44.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 34.87 (-0.36%) to 9,620.51

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 38.74 (-0.25%) to 15,287.86

S&P 500 down 5.91 (-0.35%) to 1,683.22

Nasdaq Composite Index down 7.73 (-0.21%) to 3,717.28


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.26%

Hang Seng Index up 0.07%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.64%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.01%

CAC 40 down 0.30%

DAX down 0.02%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES NYSE Energy Sector Index -0.24%

NYSE Financial Sector Index -0.48%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index -0.31%


(+) NTWK (+14.7%) Q4 earnings of $0.35 beat estimates by $0.13 per share.

(+) P (+9.5%) Former Microsoft ( MSFT ) executive Brian McAndrews is named new CEO.

(+) MFRI (+7.4%) Q2 earnings rose to $0.62 per share, reversing $0.20 net loss last year. Sales rose 44% year over year to $62 million.


(-) MW (-10.6%) Posts disappointing Q2 earnings with EPS of $1.01 versus estimates expecting $1.14 per share.

(-) LULU (-6.3%) Q2 profit falls 1.3% and the yoga-wear company slashes Q3 forecasts.

(-) NFLX (-1.8%) Video-streaming company was downgraded today by both Morgan Stanley and BTIG.

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

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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