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TMCNet:  Choppy Trading Persists On Wall Street Ahead Of Long Weekend - US Commentary

[April 17, 2014]

Choppy Trading Persists On Wall Street Ahead Of Long Weekend - US Commentary

(Alliance News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - Stocks continue to show a lack of direction in mid-day trading on Thursday, extending the lackluster performance seen earlier in the session. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is down 20.72 points or 0.1% at 16,404.13, the Nasdaq is up 2.25 points or 0.1% at 4,088.48 and the S&P 500 is up 0.42 point or less than a tenth of a % at 1,862.73.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make any significant move ahead of the long weekend.

Uncertainty about the situation in Ukraine as well as the outlook for the remainder of earnings season is likely helping to keep traders on the sidelines.

A mixed reaction to the latest batch of earnings news is also contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

While Morgan Stanley (MS) and General Electric (GE) are moving notably higher after reporting their quarterly results, Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM) have come under significant selling pressure.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off the day's economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing a smaller than expected increase in weekly jobless claims.

The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 304,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level of 302,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to climb to 315,000 from the 300,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Even with the upward revision, the number of jobless claims in the previous week was still at the lowest level in almost seven years.

A separate report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed that regional manufacturing activity has accelerated by much more than anticipated in the month of April.

Sector News While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, significant strength has emerged among semiconductor stocks. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is advancing by 1.6%, climbing further off the one-month closing low that it set last Friday.

SanDisk (SNDK) has helped to lead the semiconductor sector higher, with the chipmaker surging up by 9.7% after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings.

Natural gas, brokerage, and networking stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while weakness is visible among utilities, airline, and software stocks.

Other Markets In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed nearly flat, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.3% and China's Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.3%.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 1%, the UK's FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both ended the day up by 0.6%.

In the bond market, treasuries have come under pressure on the heels of the upbeat economic data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.5 basis points at 2.682%.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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