U.S. Stocks Close Mixed Following Lackluster Session

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before eventually ending the day mixed.

The major averages finished the session on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq rose 45.27 points or 0.5 percent to 8,854.39, the Dow slumped 218.45 points or 0.9 percent to 23,664.64 and the S&P 500 fell 20.02 points or 0.7 percent to 2,848.42.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders weighed optimism about some states reopening against some dismal employment data.

Private sector employment nosedived in the month of April, according to a report released by payroll processor ADP.

The report said private sector employment plunged by 20.236 million jobs in April after slumping by a revised 149,000 jobs in May.

Economists had expected employment to tumble by 20.050 million jobs compared to the loss of 27,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

ADP noted the report utilizes data through the 12th of the month, the same as the Labor Department’s monthly jobs survey, and does not reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation.

“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented. The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

Energy stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, moving lower along with the price of crude oil. Crude for June delivery slumped $0.57 to $23.99 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index plunged by 4.7 percent, while the NYSE Arca Oil Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index tumbled by 2.9 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

A decrease by the price of gold also contributed to considerable weakness among gold stocks, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index plummeting by 3.5 percent.

Utilities, financial and tobacco stocks also saw notable weakness, while strength among computer hardware and semiconductor stocks contributed to the gain by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.6 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks moved mostly lower over the course of the session. The German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a significant move to the downside on the day. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 5.4 basis points to 0.711 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Thursday may be impacted by reaction to the Labor Department’s report on weekly unemployment claims.

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