U.S. Stocks Lack Direction Ahead Of Holiday, Jobs Data

Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Monday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line following the downturn seen during last Friday’s trading.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 54.77 points or 0.3 percent at 17,787.38, the Dow is up 10.97 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 39,129.83 and the S&P 500 is up 0.68 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 5,461.16.

The lackluster performance on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

The report, which is expected to show a slowdown in the pace of job growth in the month of June, could impact the outlook for interest rates.

Traders may also be sticking to the sidelines ahead of remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday as well as the Independence Day holiday on Thursday.

On the U.S. economic front, the Institute for Supply Management released a report showing manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted at a slightly faster rate in the month of June.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI edged down to 48.5 in June from 48.7 in May, with a reading below 50 indicating contraction. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 49.1.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department unexpectedly showed a slight decrease in U.S. construction spending in the month of May.

The Commerce Department said construction spending edged down by 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $2.140 trillion in May after rising by 0.3 percent to a revised rate of $2.142 billion in April.

Economists had expected construction spending to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.1 percent dip originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, housing stocks have moved sharply lower, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 2.2 percent.

Significant weakness is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Commercial real estate, oil service and networking stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while pharmaceutical stocks have moved to the upside.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has surged by 1.4 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and in the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved sharply lower, leading to a spike by yields. The yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 13.2 basis points at 4.475 percent.

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