U.S. Stocks Turn Mixed After Seeing Early Strength

After moving to the upside early in the session, the major U.S. stock indexes have turned mixed over the course of morning trading on Thursday. While the Dow has managed to remain in positive territory, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has shown a notable downturn.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Dow is up 131.21 points or 0.4 percent at 36,421.53, but the Nasdaq is down 96.24 points or 0.6 percent at 15,092.15 and the S&P 500 is down 6.79 points or 0.1 percent at 4,719.56.

The Dow is benefiting from a strong gain by shares of Boeing (BA), with the aerospace giant jumping by 3.3 percent after a report from Bloomberg said the 737 Max could resume service in China as soon as this month.

Traders are also digesting a report from the Labor Department showing only a slight uptick in U.S. producer prices in the month of December.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged up by 0.2 percent in December after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.0 percent in November.

Economists had expected producer prices to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding food, energy and trade prices, core producer prices rose by 0.4 percent in December after climbing by 0.8 percent in November.

The report also showed the annual rate of producer growth slowed to 9.7 percent in December from a record high 9.8 percent in November. The yearly core price growth was unchanged at 6.9 percent.

Following yesterday’s report showing a slowdown in monthly consumer price growth, the data may add to optimism that inflation has peaked.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed an unexpected increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 8th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 230,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 207,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 200,000.

Traders are also keeping an eye on a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Lael Brainard’s nomination to be Federal Reserve Vice Chair.

In prepared remarks, Brainard described as inflation as “too high” and said monetary policy will be focused on “getting inflation back down to 2 percent while sustaining a recovery that includes everyone.”

Airline stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 3 percent to its best intraday level in almost two months.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) has helped lead the sector higher after reporting fourth quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Notable strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Shares of KB Home (KBH) have spiked after the homebuilder reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings and provided upbeat guidance.

On the other hand, software stocks have come under pressure over the course of the morning, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 1.5 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has slid by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction after seeing initial weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.729 percent.

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