U.S. Stocks Turning In Lackluster Performance In Light Post-Holiday Trading

Stocks are showing a lack of direction in morning trading on Friday, as trading activity remains subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow has reached its best intraday level in over three months.

Currently, the major averages are on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is down 31.55 points or 0.2 percent at 14,234.31, the S&P 500 is up 1.25 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 4,557.87 and the Dow is up124.69 points or 0.4 percent at 35,397.72.

The choppy trading on the day comes as many traders may remain away from their desks following yesterday’s holiday, with the markets due to close earlier than usual.

A lack of major U.S. economic data may also be keeping some traders on the sidelines ahead of next week’s reports on new home sales, consumer confidence, pending home sales, manufacturing activity and more.

The Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending may be in the spotlight next week, as it includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts, may also attract attention next week along with remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Traders will be looking for additional clues about the outlook for interest rates, with optimism the Fed is done raising rates contributing to recent strength on Wall Street.

Sector News

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, energy stocks are seeing notable strength despite a decrease by the price of crude oil.

Reflecting the strength in the sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 1.5 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.1 percent.

Tobacco stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, with the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index climbing by 1.3 percent.

Pharmaceutical and airline stocks have also moved to the upside, while some weakness is visible among computer hardware stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.0 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved modestly higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside after ending the previous session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 6.4 basis points at 4.480 percent.

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