May 15, 2021

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Nasdaq Turns Negative But Dow, S&P 500 Remain Positive

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After moving to the upside early in the session, the major U.S. stock indexes have turned mixed over the course of the trading day on Monday. While the Dow and the S&P 500 are holding on to gains, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has pulled back into negative territory.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Nasdaq is down 39.42 points or 0.3 percent at 13,923.26, but the Dow is up 314.91 points or 0.9 percent at 34,189.76 and the S&P 500 is up 18.35 points or 0.4 percent at 4,199.52.

The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected recent upward momentum, which helped propel the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to new record highs last week.

Largely upbeat earnings and economic news has contributed to positive sentiment on Wall Street in recent sessions, although buying interest has been somewhat subdued.

Traders remain optimistic about the economic outlook, but analysts have raised some concerns about valuations and a potential correction.

Economic data is likely to attract attention in the coming days, with the Labor Department scheduled to release its closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 988,000 jobs in April after surging up by 916,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is also expected to dip to 5.8 percent from 6.0 percent.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI slid to 60.7 in April after jumping to a more than 37-year high of 64.7 in March.

While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to inch up to 65.0.

“Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential,” said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Sector News

Gold stocks continue to see substantial strength in mid-day trading, resulting in a 3.9 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery surging up $23.80 to $1,791.50 an ounce.

Significant strength also remains visible among energy stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of crude oil. Crude for June delivery is climbing $0.75 to $64.33 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.9 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.9 percent.

Transportation, tobacco and chemical stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Meanwhile, semiconductor stocks have bucked the uptrend, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1.3 percent. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in a month.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday, although the Japanese and Chinese markets were closed for holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi slid by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, most European stocks moved to the upside on the day, with the U.K. markets closed for a holiday. The German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back well off their best levels but remain modestly higher. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.7 basis points at 1.614 percent.

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2021-05-03 12:01:52

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