Stocks Turning In Mixed Performance In Mid-Day Trading

(RTTNews) - Stocks have turned mixed over the course of the trading day on Thursday after showing a notable move to the downside earlier in the session. Trading activity has remained subdued, contributing to a relatively lackluster performance on Wall Street.

The major averages currently remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line, with the Nasdaq posting a modest gain. While the Nasdaq is up 4.60 points or 0.2 percent at 2,980.68, the Dow is down 23.01 points or 0.2 percent at 12,920.81 and the S&P 500 is down 3.92 points or 0.3 percent at 1,370.10.

Profit taking following recent gains contributed to the early weakness on Wall Street, although traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report.

A number of traders also remain away from their desks following the Independence Day holiday, leading to somewhat choppy trading.

Traders have largely shrugged off a report from ADP showing stronger than expected private sector job growth as well as a Labor Department report showing an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims.

ADP said the private sector added 176,000 jobs in June following an upwardly revised increase of 136,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected private sector employment to increase by about 95,000 jobs compared to the increase of 133,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Additionally, the Labor Department said jobless claims fell to 374,000 in the week ended June 30th from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000. Jobless claims had been expected claims to come in unchanged compared to the 386,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "The markets response though is muted as policy actions by the ECB, BoE and PBOC weren't unexpected and maybe decent U.S. jobs data won't compel the Fed to do more QE."

The European Central Bank cut interest rates to a record low of 0.75 percent, while the People's Bank of China also lowered rates for the second time in two months.

ECB President Mario Draghi told reporters a weak economic outlook and the absence of an inflation threat justified the rate cut.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England left interest rates unchanged but decided to raise the size of its asset purchase plan by 50 billion pounds.

Sector News

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable weakness remains visible among banking stocks. The KBW Bank Index is down by 1.4 percent after ending the previous session at its best closing level in almost two months.

Financial giants JP Morgan (JPM) and Citigroup (C) are turning in two of the banking sector's worst performances, falling by 3.9 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Semiconductor stocks also remain under pressure, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1 percent. The loss by the index comes after it ended Tuesday's trading at a one-month high.

Oil, telecom, and pharmaceutical stocks are also seeing some weakness on the day, while strength has emerged among housing and retail stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day up by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets also turned mixed over the course of the trading day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled 1.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a strong move to the upside following the latest news out of Europe. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.4 basis points at 1.587 percent.

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