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

Stocks are turning in a lackluster performance on Friday, as trading activity remains subdued following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow has reached a new seven-month intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is down 38.19 points or 0.3 percent at 11,247.13, the S&P 500 is up 2.96 points or 0.1 percent at 4,030.22 and the Dow is up 137.70 points or 0.4 percent at 34,331.76.

The lackluster performance on Wall Street comes as many traders remain away from their desks following yesterday’s holiday.

An early close for the markets at 1 pm ET along with a lack of major U.S. economic data is also contributing to below average trading activity.

Nonetheless, the major averages remain on pace for a solid week due in part to optimism about slower interest rate hikes.

The minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, released on Wednesday, provided further evidence the central bank is considering slowing the pace of its rate hikes as soon as next month.

The minutes said a “substantial majority” of meeting participants judged that a slowing in the pace of rate hikes would likely “soon be appropriate.”

A slower pace of rate hikes would better allow the Fed to assess progress toward its goals of maximum employment and price stability, the minutes said.

However, the Fed also said some participants felt the central bank will need to raise rates higher than previously expected in order to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance to bring inflation down.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Airline stocks have shown a notable move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index climbing by 1.1 percent.

Natural gas and utilities stocks are also seeing some strength in morning trading, while gold stocks are moving lower despite a modest increase by the price of the precious metal.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after moving notably higher over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.2 basis points at 3.728 percent.

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