U.S. Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction

After ending the previous session notably higher, stocks are turning in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 45.28 points or 0.1 percent at 35,504.57, the Nasdaq is up 2.52 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 14,319.18 and the S&P 500 is up 3.73 points or 0.1 percent at 4,585.96.

Traders seem reluctant to make significant moves as they await the release of key economic data in the coming days, including the closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Reports on initial jobless claims, factory orders and manufacturing and service sector activity are also likely to attract attention.

In economic news, MNI Indicators released a report showing Chicago-area business activity contracted at a slightly slower rate in the month of July.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer inched up to 42.8 in July from 41.5 in June, although a reading below 50 still indicates a contraction. Economists had expected the index to rise to 43.0.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Steel stocks have shown a significant move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index jumping by 2.0 percent.

Considerable strength is also visible among energy stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of crude oil.

With crude for September delivery climbing $0.71 to $81.29 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 1.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.4 percent.

Gold and commercial real estate stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while healthcare stocks have moved to the downside

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index is nearly unchanged.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher over the course of the morning. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.8 basis points at 3.951 percent.

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