U.S. Stocks Turn Mixed After Seeing Initial Strength

(RTTNews) - After moving to the upside at the start of trading, stocks have given back some ground over the course of the morning. The major averages have pulled back well off their initial highs, with the Dow and the S&P 500 sliding into negative territory.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 24.95 points or 0.3 percent at 8,144.75, the Dow is down 71.20 points or 0.3 percent at 26,762.75 and the S&P 500 is down 0.83 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 3,003.69.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders are reacting to the latest batch of earnings news from several big-name companies.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is benefiting from an advance by shares of Microsoft (MSFT), with the software giant up by 1.8 percent after reporting better than expected quarterly results.

Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) is also posting a standout gain on the day after reporting an unexpected third quarter profit.

Meanwhile, shares of Twitter (TWTR) have come under pressure after the social media giant reported weaker than expected third quarter results and provided disappointing guidance.

Traders are also reacting to a slew of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a steep drop in orders for transportation equipment contributed to a bigger than expected decrease in durable goods orders in the month of September.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders tumbled by 1.1 percent in September after rising by a revised 0.3 percent in August.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to decline by 0.8 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding the nosedive in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders dipped by 0.3 percent in September after climbing by 0.3 percent in August. Ex-transportation orders had expected to edge down by 0.2 percent.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed new home sales pulled back in September after a sharp increase in the previous month.

The report said new home sales slid by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 701,000 in September after spiking by 6.2 percent to a revised rate of 706,000 in August.

Economists had expected slump by 1.7 percent to a rate of 701,000 from the 713,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 19th.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 212,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 218,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 215,000 from the 214,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Gold stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of morning trading, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2.4 percent.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is climbing $9 to $1,504.70 an ounce.

Software and semiconductor stocks are also seeing notable strength on upbeat earnings news, with the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbing by 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, oil service stocks have shown a substantial move to the downside, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 2.4 percent. The sell-off comes despite an increase by the price of crude oil.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Networking Index.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has jumped by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.2 basis points at 1.747 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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