After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are little changed. While the Nasdaq is up 6.96 points or 0.1 percent at 14,027.29, the Dow is down 41.45 points or 0.1 percent at 34,424.79 and the S&P 500 is down 1.27 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 4,237.91.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting scheduled for next week.
The Fed is widely expected to leave its monetary policy unchanged, but traders will be looking for any clues the central bank is considering tapering its asset purchases.
Yesterday’s report from the Labor Department showed consumer price inflation reached the highest level in nearly thirteen years in May, although Fed officials have repeatedly downplayed the risks of prolonged inflation.
Traders will likely pay close attention to any changes to the Fed’s comments about inflation, with previous statements largely attributing rising inflation to “transitory factors.”
In U.S. economic news, preliminary data released by the University of Michigan showed a bigger than expected rebound in consumer sentiment in the month of June.
The report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 86.4 in June after falling to 82.9 in May. Economists had expected the index to rise to 84.0.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Steel stocks have shown a strong move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index advancing by 1.5 percent.
Natural gas and brokerage stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while gold stocks are moving lower along with the price of the precious metal.
With gold for August delivery sliding $14.30 to $1,882.10 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 1.3 percent.
Pharmaceutical stocks are also giving back ground following recent strength, with the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index down by 1 percent after ending the previous session at a record closing high.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed just below the unchanged line, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.8 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.7 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved slightly lower after trending higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1 basis point at 1.469 percent.
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