U.S. Stocks Climb Off Worst Levels But Remain Mostly Lower

After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the trading day on Monday but remain mostly lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has shown a particularly steep drop, hitting its lowest intraday level in over two weeks.

Currently, the Nasdaq is down 180.06 points or 1.3 percent at 14,124.97 and the S&P 500 is down 35.55 points or 0.8 percent at 4,559.08. The narrower Dow is posting a more modest loss, slipping 80.65 points or 0.2 percent at 36,164.85.

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

The Dow and the S&P 500 ended last Friday’s trading at their best closing levels since early 2022, while the Nasdaq reached a four-month closing high.

Stocks have recently benefited from optimism about the outlook for interest rates, as the Federal Reserve is widely expected to leave rates unchanged until cutting rates as early as March 2024.

A rebound by treasury yields may also have contributed to the weakness on Wall Street, as the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is bouncing off its lowest levels in three months.

Selling pressure has waned over the course of the session, however, as traders look ahead to the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to increase by 180,000 jobs in November after rising by 150,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.9 percent.

“Another weaker report, especially one paired with 0.2% monthly wage growth, could further fuel the belief that not only is the tightening cycle over but rate cuts may not be far away,” said Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA.

Reports on service sector activity, private sector jobs, weekly jobless claims and consumer sentiment may also attract attention in the coming days.

The Commerce Department released a report this morning showing factory orders pulled back by much more than expected in the month of October.

The report said factory orders plunged by 3.6 percent in October after jumping by a downwardly revised 2.3 percent in September.

Economists had expected factory orders to tumble by 2.6 percent compared to the 2.8 percent surge originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Gold stocks continue to see substantial weakness on the day, resulting in a 3.1 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The index ended last Friday’s trading at its best closing level in over four months.

The sell-off by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for February delivery has plunged $47.50 to $2,042.20 an ounce after reaching a high above $2,100 an ounce.

Significant weakness also remains visible among software and semiconductor stocks, with the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index both slumping by 1.9 percent.

Computer hardware and steel stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, while airline stocks have shown a strong move to the upside.

Shares of Hawaiian Holdings (HA) are skyrocketing after the parent of Hawaiian Airlines agreed to be acquired by Alaska Air Group (ALK) for $18.00 per share in cash.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets also ended the day narrowly mixed. While the German DAX Index crept up by less than 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both edged down by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after moving sharply higher in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 6.4 basis points at 4.290 percent.

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