Nasdaq Regaining Ground In Morning Trading But Dow Seeing Further Downside

After coming under pressure late in the previous session, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in a mixed performance in morning trading on Thursday. While the Dow and the S&P 500 have seen further downside, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has rebounded.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Nasdaq is up 57.25 points or 0.4 percent at 14,096.93, but the Dow is down 165.47 points or 0.5 percent at 33,868.20 and the S&P 500 is down 4.52 points or 0.1 percent at 4,219.18.

With the drop on the day, the Dow is extending a recent downward trend, falling to its lowest intraday level in nearly a month.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders continue to digest yesterday’s announcement from the Federal Reserve, which saw the central bank move up its timeline for raising interest rates.

The Fed previously predicted that interest rates would remain at near-zero levels through 2023, but the latest projections point to two rate hikes during that year.

The shift in the timeline comes as the Fed also forecast much faster core consumer price inflation this year, although the accompanying statement still attributed the increase in inflation to “transitory factors.”

The statement did not hint at a shift in Fed officials’ thinking about the central bank’s asset purchase program, but the new interest rate forecast still suggests tapering is likely in the coming months.

The Fed’s asset purchase program has been credited with helping to prop up the stock markets during the coronavirus pandemic, with stocks reaching record highs despite significant economic hardship.

On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing an unexpected uptick in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 12th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 412,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 375,000.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 359,000 from the 376,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims had declined in eight out of the nine previous weeks, falling to their lowest levels since March of 2020.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity expanded at a slightly slower rate in the month of June.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board released a separate report showing another significant increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators.

Gold stocks are moving sharply lower along with the price of the precious metal, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 4.5 percent to its lowest intraday level in over a month.

The sell-off by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for August delivery is plummeting $82.90 to $1,778.50 an ounce, as the value of the U.S. dollar spiked in reaction to the Fed announcement.

Substantial weakness has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.5 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has also fallen to its lowest intraday level in over a month.

Chemical, energy and banking stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while some strength among semiconductor and software stocks is contributing to the advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index crept up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index is just above the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after coming under pressure following the Fed announcement. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.9 basis points at 1.540 percent.

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