U.S. Stocks Turning In Lackluster Performance In Morning Trading

(RTTNews) - Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Thursday following the strong upward move seen over the two previous sessions. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is down 14.77 points or 0.2 percent at 7,560.71, the Dow is up 14.72 points or 0.1 percent at 25,554.29 and the S&P 500 is up 0.57 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,826.72.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders weigh optimism about a potential interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve against lingering concerns about U.S. trade disputes.

Traders also seem reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report on Friday.

Employment is expected to climb by 185,000 jobs in May after surging up by 263,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.

The strength of the jobs data could have a notable impact on the perceived prospects for a near-term interest rate cut by the Fed.

A day ahead of the release of the more closely watched monthly report, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits came in unchanged in the week ended June 1st.

The report said initial jobless claims came in at 218,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised level. Economists had expected jobless claims to come in unchanged compared to the 215,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $50.8 billion in April from a revised $51.9 billion in March. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $50.7 billion from the $50.0 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The narrower deficit came as the value of imports fell by $5.7 billion or 2.2 percent to $257.6 billion, while the value of exports dropped by $4.6 billion or 2.2 percent to $206.8 billion.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Transportation stocks have shown a notable move to the downside, however, with the Dow Jones Transportation Average slumping by 1.3 percent.

On the other hand, significant strength has emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Networking Index.

Shares of Ciena (CIEN) are moving sharply higher after the networking company reported fiscal second quarter results well above analyst estimates.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled by 1.2 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed just below the unchanged line, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher after ending the previous session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3 basis points at 2.093 percent.

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