U.S. Stocks Seeing Modest Weakness Amid Profit Taking

(RTTNews) - Following the strong upward move seen over the past several sessions, stocks are seeing modest weakness during trading on Friday. Selling pressure has remained relatively subdued, however, limiting the downside for the major averages.

In recent trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 have dipped to new lows for the session. The Dow is down 159.52 points or 0.4 percent at 39,621.85, the S&P 500 is down 8.83 points or 0.2 percent at 5,232.70 and the Nasdaq is down 23.99 points or 0.2 percent at 16,377.85.

The pullback on Wall Street partly reflects profit taking, with some traders looking to cash in on the recent strength in the markets.

The major averages gave back ground after an early rally on Thursday but still ended the session at new record closing highs.

Lingering uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates may also be weighing on the markets following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement earlier in the week.

While the Fed maintained its forecast for three interest rate cuts this year, the timing of the first rate cut remains undetermined.

The chances of a quarter point rate cut in June have rebounded to 62.0 percent, according to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, but there is still a 28.8 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged at the meeting.

Among individual stocks, shares of Lululemon (LULU) have moved sharply lower after the athletic apparel retailer reported better than expected fiscal fourth quarter results but provided disappointing guidance.

Athletic footwear and apparel giant Nike (NKE) has also come under pressure after reporting fiscal third quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded estimates but slowing growth in China.

Meanwhile, shares of FedEx (FDX) have surged after the delivery giant reported fiscal third quarter results that beat expectations and announced a new $5 billion share repurchase program.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although financial stocks are giving back ground after seeing significant strength on Thursday.

Reflecting the weakness in the sector, the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index is down by 1.2 percent and the KBW Bank Index is down by 1.1 percent.

Notable weakness is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Telecom, biotechnology and computer hardware stocks are also seeing some weakness on the day, although selling pressure remains subdued.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.0 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.2 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index is just above the unchanged line and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a strong move to the upside after ending the previous session roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 5.9 basis points at 4.212 percent.

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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