U.S. Stocks Remain Mostly Negative In Mid-Day Trading
(RTTNews) - Stocks remain firmly in negative territory in mid-day trading on Thursday after coming under pressure early in the session. The Dow staged a notable recovery attempt after the initial drop but has pulled back into the red since then.
Currently, the tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to underperform its counterparts, slumping 129.70 points or 1.2 percent at 10,420.79. The Dow is down 126.96 points or 0.5 percent at 26,743.14 and the S&P 500 is down 20.78 points or 0.6 percent at 3,205.78.
The weaness on Wall Street comes following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing the decline in first-time claims for unemployment benefits nearly ground to a halt last week.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims slipped to 1.300 million in the week ended July 11th, a decrease of just 10,000 from the previous week's revised level 1.310 million.
Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 1.250 million from the 1.314 million originally reported for the previous week.
Jobless claims fell for the fifteenth consecutive week, although the pace of decline has slowed considerably from April and May.
The negative sentiment was partly offset by a report from the Commerce Department showing another substantial increase in retail sales in the month of June, although the data may be seen as old news as some states roll back their reopening plans due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
The report said retail sales soared by 7.5 percent in June after skyrocketing by an upwardly revised 18.2 percent in May.
Economists had expected retail sales to jump by 5.0 percent compared to the 17.7 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, retail sales still shot up by 7.3 percent in May after soaring by 12.1 percent in May. Ex-auto sales were also expected to surge up by 5.0 percent.
A steep drop by Bank of America (BAC) is also weighing on the markets, with the financial giant tumbling by 2.4 percent.
Bank of America came under pressure after reporting better than expected second quarter earnings but also setting aside another $4 billion for coronavirus-related loan losses.
Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is also seeing some weakness despite reporting second quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates and raising its full-year guidance.
On the other hand, shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) have moved to the upside after the investment firm reported better than expected second quarter results.
Airline stocks continue to turn in some of the market's worst performances in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index plummeting by 2.6 percent after soaring by 8.7 percent on Wednesday.
Significant weakness also remains visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent slump by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index.
Biotechnology, gold, and commercial real estate stocks have also come under pressure over the course of the trading session.
On the other hand, housing stocks have moved sharply higher on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 1.5 percent. The index has reached its best intraday level in four months.
The rally by housing stocks comes after the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing another substantial improvement in homebuilder confidence in the month of July.
The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index surged up to 72 in July after skyrocketing to 58 in June. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 60.
Computer hardware, natural gas and utilities stocks are also seeing considerable strength, partly offsetting the weakness in the aforementioned sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 0.8 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 4.5 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher following the modest drop seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.5 basis points at 0.605 percent.