U.S. Stocks Turning In Mixed Performance After Yesterday’s Rally

Following the rebound seen in the previous session, the major U.S. stocks indexes are turning in a mixed performance in morning trading on Friday. While the Dow and the S&P 500 are seeing further upside, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is giving back ground.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Nasdaq is down 44.75 points or 0.3 percent at 14,147.09, but the Dow is up 167.32 points or 0.5 percent at 34,875.26 and the S&P 500 is up 14.71 points or 0.3 percent at 4,534.87.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as the U.S. and the European Union have signed an agreement for the supply of liquefied natural gas to reduce reliance on Russian supply.

Crude oil futures price are trading lower, expecting the release of oil reserves from the U.S. and other major allies. Currently, Russia is providing around 40 percent of gas required for the European Union.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing pending home sales unexpectedly saw further downside in the month of February.

NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 4.1 percent to 104.9 in February after plunging by 5.8 percent to a revised 109.4 in January. The continued decrease came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to rebound by 1.0 percent.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

Meanwhile, revised data released by the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. fell by more than initially estimated in the month of March.

The report showed the consumer sentiment index for March was downwardly revised to 59.4 from the preliminary reading of 59.7. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

With the unexpected downward revision, the consumer sentiment was at its lowest level since hitting 55.8 in August of 2011.

Natural gas stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index up by 3.1 percent to its best intraday level in well over three years.

The strength in the sector comes as the price of natural gas for April delivery is jumping $0.058 or 1.1 percent to $5.459 per million BTUs.

Significant strength is also visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2.7 percent spike by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The rally by oil service stocks comes despite a pullback by the price of crude oil.

Airline stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, resulting in a 2.7 percent surge by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Banking, utilities and telecom stocks have also moved to the upside, while notable weakness is visible among biotechnology and semiconductor stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved sharply lower amid growing expectations the Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates more aggressively. Subsequently, the yield on the bench mark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 14.9 basis points at 2.490 percent.

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