After showing a lack of direction early in the session, stocks continue to experience choppy trading Friday afternoon. The major averages have spent much of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 78.73 points or 0.2 percent at 35,303.91, the Nasdaq is up 27.59 points or 0.2 percent at 14,090.90 and the S&P 500 is up 14.75 points or 0.3 percent at 4,549.62.
The lackluster performance on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy meeting next week.
With the Fed widely expected to raise interest rates by another 25 basis point, traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.
Recent encouraging inflation data has led to optimism next week’s rate hike will be the last, and traders will be looking for confirmation from the Fed.
A lack of major U.S. economic data may also be keeping traders on the sidelines following the release of several key reports earlier in the week.
Among individual stocks, shares of American Express (AXP) have moved sharply lower after the credit card giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings but weaker than expected revenues.
Railroad operator CSX Corp. (CSX) has also come under pressure after reporting second quarter revenues that fell short of expectations.
Meanwhile, shares of Scholastic (SCHL) have surged after the publisher reported better than expected fiscal fourth quarter earnings and increased its stock repurchase by $100 million.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Interest rate-sensitive utilities stocks have shown a notable move to the upside, however, with the Dow Jones Utility Average climbing by 1.5 percent to a two-month intraday high.
Significant strength has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Healthcare and airline stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while banking stocks are giving back ground following recent strength.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.8 percent.
The major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.7 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving sharply lower in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.5 basis points at 3.829 percent.
Source: Read Full Article