Nasdaq Moves Sharply Higher But Dow Posting Modest Loss – U.S. Commentary

While stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday, the Dow is bucking the uptrend. The broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 have climbed firmly into positive territory, extending the rally seen in the previous session.

The Dow has climbed well off its worst levels of the day but remains down 49.45 points or 0.2 percent at 24,965.41. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq is up 81.42 points or 1.1 percent at 7,264.50 and the S&P 500 is up 14.75 points or 0.6 percent at 2,695.80.

A steep drop by shares of DowDuPont (DWDP) is weighing on the Dow, with the chemical giant tumbling by 7.5 percent after reporting fourth quarter earnings in line with estimates but on weaker than expected revenues.

Software giant Microsoft (MSFT) has also moved to the downside after reporting fiscal second quarter revenues that missed estimates.

On the other hand, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is benefited from a sharp jump by shares of Facebook (FB), with the social giant spiking by 13 percent after reporting fourth quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

General Electric (GE) is also posting a standout gain after the conglomerate reported fourth quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates but better than expected revenues.

GE also announced a $1.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department related to its now-defunct subprime mortgage business WMC, consistent with the prior reserve for the matter.

In economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing a significant rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended January 26th.

The report said initial jobless claims surged up to 253,000, an increase of 53,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 200,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 215,000.

With the much bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 254,000 in September of 2017.

The slightly upwardly revised reading on jobless claims in the previous week was still the lowest since a matching figure in October of 1973.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed new home sales rebounded by much more than anticipated in November.

The report released Thursday showed new home sales soared by 16.9 percent to an annual rate of 657,000 in November after plunging by 8.3 percent to a revised rate of 562,000 in October.

Economists had expected new home sales to rise to a rate of 560,000 from the 544,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although considerable strength has emerged among oil stocks. The NYSE Arca Oil Index has advanced by 1.6 percent to its best intraday level in almost two months.

The strength among oil stocks comes amid a notable increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for March delivery climbing $0.94 to $55.17 a barrel.

Gold, housing, and retail stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, while significant weakness is visible among chemical and banking stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Thursday despite disappointing Chinese manufacturing data. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both shot up by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is just above the unchanged line and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the upward move seen late in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.3 basis points at 2.652 percent.

Source: Read Full Article