U.S. Stocks Turning In Lackluster Performance Ahead Of Key Economic Data

Stocks moved to the downside in early trading on Monday but have shown a lack of direction over the course of the session. The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line after ending last Friday’s trading narrowly mixed.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 14.68 points or 0.1 percent at 14,265.53, the S&P 500 is down 4.17 points or 0.1 percent at 4,555.17 and the Dow is down 53.42 points or 0.2 percent at 35,336.73.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of some key economic data in the coming days.

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

Economists currently expect the report to show the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.1 percent in October from 3.4 percent in September. Core price growth is expected to slow to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on consumer confidence, weekly jobless claims, pending home sales and manufacturing activity.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts, may also attract attention 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.

The Commerce Department released a report this morning showing new home sales in U.S. pulled back sharply in the month of October after soaring in September.

The report said new home sales plunged by 5.6 percent to an annual rate of 679,000 in October after spiking by 8.6 percent to a downwardly revised rate of 719,000 in September.

Economists had expected new home sales to tumble by 4.5 percent to a rate of 725,000 from the 759,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

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 downside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index falling by 1.2 percent.

Natural gas and tobacco stocks are also seeing some weakness, while strength is visible among gold and retail stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also shown modest moves to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground following the pullback seen last Friday. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.7 basis points at 4.435 percent.

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