While the tech-heavy Nasdaq has turned positive over the course of the trading session on Thursday, the Dow is showing a modest drop on the day.
Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Dow is down 28.32 points or 0.1 percent at 30,040.49, while the Nasdaq is up 77.13 points or 0.6 percent at 12,416.09 and the S&P 500 is up 2.49 points or 0.1 percent at 3,675.31.
The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders keep an eye on the latest developments in Washington amid lingering uncertainty about a new fiscal stimulus bill.
The House has passed a one-week funding bill to avoid a government shutdown, although lawmakers remain at a stalemate over a coronavirus relief bill.
The impasse partly reflects a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over including aid for state and local governments.
Meanwhile, traders are also reacting to a Labor Department report showing a significant increase in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 5th.
The report said initial jobless claims jumped to 853,000, an increase of 137,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 716,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 725,000 from the 712,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the much bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 873,000 in the week ended September 19th.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed a modest increase in U.S. consumer prices in the month of November.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.2 percent in November after coming in unchanged in October. The uptick in consumer prices matched economist estimates.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still edged up by 0.2 percent in November after showing no change in the previous month. Economists had expected core prices to inch up by 0.1 percent.
Energy stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil. Crude for January delivery is spiking $2.13 to $47.65 a barrel.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 5 percent, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 4.3 percent and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 3.5 percent.
Significant strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has reached a new two-year intraday high.
Biotechnology and computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while transportation stocks have shown a notable move to the downside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction over the course of the morning. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 0.933 percent.
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