After moving in opposite directions early in the session, stocks continue to turn in a mixed performance in mid-day trading on Tuesday. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached its best intraday level in nearly three months.
While the S&P 500 have joined the Nasdaq in positive territory, the Dow is currently posting a modest loss. The Dow is down 33.38 points or 0.1 percent at 24,563.99, but the Nasdaq is up 56.80 points or 0.6 percent at 9,291.63 and the S&P 500 is up 3.40 points or 0.1 percent at2,957.31.
The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders take a breather following yesterday’s rally, which lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to their best closing levels in well over two months.
Traders have recently expressed considerable optimism about the economy reopening, although lingering concerns about the coronavirus pandemic may be leading to some caution.
The markets are also reacting to the latest earnings news from big-name companies like retail giants Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD).
Shares of Walmart have moved higher after the company reported better than expected first quarter results, while shares of Home Depot have moved to the downside after the home improvement retailer reported weaker than expected first quarter earnings.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing another steep drop in new residential construction in the U.S. in the month of April.
The report said housing starts plummeted by 30.2 percent to an annual rate of 891,000 in April after tumbling by 18.6 percent to a revised 1.276 million in March.
Economists had expected housing stocks to plunge by 23.8 percent to a rate of 927,000 from the 1.216 million originally reported for the previous month.
The Commerce Department said building permits also slumped by 20.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.074 million in April after falling by 5.7 percent to a revised 1.356 million in March.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to nosedive by 26.1 percent to a rate of 1 million from the 1.353 million originally reported for the previous month.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although substantial strength remains visible among gold stocks.
Reflecting the strength in the gold sector, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is up by 3.4 percent after reaching a seven-year intraday high earlier in the session.
The rally by gold stocks comes amid a rebound by the price of the precious metal, as gold for June delivery is climbing $9.10 to $1,742.70 an ounce after tumbling $21.90 to $1,734.40 an ounce in the previous session.
Computer hardware and semiconductor stocks have also shown strong moves to the upside on the day, contributing to the advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
On the other hand, oil service stocks continue to see considerable weakness in mid-day trading, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 2.8 percent.
The weakness among oil service stocks comes as the price of crude oil has turned lower over the course of the session, with crude for June delivery slipping $0.11 to $31.71 a barrel.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index spiked by 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets ended the day mixed. While the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving sharply lower in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.3 basis points at 0.711 percent.
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