Dow, Nasdaq Continue To Turn In Starkly Mixed Performance

The major U.S. stock indexes moved in starkly opposite directions early in the session on Thursday and continue to turn in a mixed performance in afternoon trading.

While the Dow appears poised to extend its recent winning streak to nine sessions, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has pulled back sharply.

Currently, the Nasdaq is down 208.29 points or 1.5 percent at 14,149.73 and the S&P 500 is down 16.22 points or 0.4 percent at 4,549.50. Meanwhile, the Dow is off its highs of the session but still up by 253.75 points or 0.7 percent at 35,314.96.

The sharp pullback by the Nasdaq comes amid a negative reaction to earnings news from companies like Netflix (NFLX) and Tesla (TSLA).

Shares of Netflix have plummeted by 8.3 percent after the streaming giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings but weaker than expected revenues.

Electric car maker Tesla has also plunged by 8.4 percent after reporting second quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded analyst estimates but a notable decrease in operating margins.

On the other hand, the narrower Dow is benefiting from a spike by shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), with the healthcare giant surging by 6.2 percent.

The jump by J&J comes after the company reported better than expected second quarter earnings and raised its full-year guidance.

Dow component IBM Corp. (IBM) has also shot up by 2.7 percent after the tech giant reported second quarter earnings that beat expectations.

Traders are also reacting to a Labor Department report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly dipped in the week ended July 15th.

The report said initial jobless claims slipped to 228,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 237,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 242,000.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks are turning in some of the market’s worst performances on the day, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index plunging by 2.5 percent. The index continues to give back ground after ending Tuesday’s trading at its best closing level in over a year.

Shares of Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) have plummeted by 4.5 percent after the chipmaker reported a steep drop in second quarter profits.

Substantial weakness is also visible among gold stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The sell-off by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for August delivery is falling $9 to $1,971.80 an ounce.

Housing stocks have also moved sharply lower following disappointing existing home sales data, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.2 percent.

Software, retail and airline stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, while pharmaceutical and healthcare stocks have rallied following J&J’s upbeat results.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a significant pullback following recent strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 11.2 basis points at 3.854 percent.

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