Midday Update: Wall Street Flip-Flops as Equities Track Oil

Wall Street is struggling to find direction in midday trade Thursday with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq straddling the flat-line, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is holding onto a modest gain thanks to gains in Caterpillar ( CAT ) and United Technologies ( UTX ). Direction has been dictated by oil's volatility in which earlier gains have been surrendered as the dollar stabilizes, and supply pressures resume.

Stocks opened defensively in reaction to weaker-than-expected Q4 non-farm productivity and December factory orders, overshadowing higher oil prices and weakness in the dollar. The market reversed course, however, on solid support for the S&P 500 at 19,000, amplified by gains in oil and commodities.

But as the Dow approached 16,500 -- which has capped the upside for the past five days -- stocks drifted lower, led by the Nasdaq on losses in the technology sector.

European markets avoided the volatility in the U.S. by tracking gains in commodities, closing with constructive gains. The outcome to today's Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting was also supportive of equities after the composition of the UK central bank shifted to unanimously dovish regarding UK interest rates.

Crude oil was down $0.17 to $32.11 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.04 to $2.00 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $13.00 to $1,154.80 an ounce, while silver was up $0.12 to $14.86 an ounce. Copper was up $0.03 to $2.12 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.62% to $9.18 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 3.31% to $7.30. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 5.80% to $16.24 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.08% to $110.43. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.43% to $14.16.

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


NYSE Composite Index was up 21.38 points (+0.23%) to $9,517.82

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 9.35 points (+0.06%) to 16,345.10

S&P 500 was down 4.98 points (-0.26%) to 1,907.40

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 16.33 points (-0.36%) to 4,488.11


FTSE 100 was up 61.62 (+1.06%) to 5,898.76

DAX was up 41.46 (+0.44%) to 9,393.36

CAC 40 was up 1.57 (+0.04%) to 4,228.53

Nikkei 225 was down 146.26 (-0.85%) to 17,044.99

Hang Seng Index was up 191.50 (+1.01%) to 19,183.09

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 41.78 points (+1.53%) to 2,781.02


NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 58.82 points (+0.67%) to 8,900.43

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 36.63 points (+0.63%) to 5,586.12

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 163.73 (-1.40%) to 11,477.99


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(+) GLUU (+31.22%) Q4 exceeds views, OKs buyback, guides Q1 below Street

(+) WFT (+18.18%) Reported narrower-than-expected Q4 loss of $0.13, plans 6,000 job cuts


(-) PPP (-25.10%) Legal claim filed by Mexican tax authorities

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(-) GPRO (-8.31%) Q4 misses views, guides Q1, FY below Street view

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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