U.S. equities finished mixed in a roller-coaster session with investors getting a break from the recent rally in Treasury yields that has unnerved the markets as of late. Energy and technology stocks led to the upside, but financials dipped ahead of Friday’s key earnings reports from the banking sector, while continued trade concerns, exacerbated by a profit warning from PPG, pressured materials and industrials. Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar ticked lower and gold was modestly higher, while crude oil prices were mixed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 56 points (0.2%) to 26,431, the S&P 500 Index was down 4 points (0.1%) to 2,880, and the NASDAQ Composite inched 2 points higher to 7,738. In moderate volume, 805 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.4 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil gained $0.67 to $74.96 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.01 to $2.08 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price rose $1.35 to $1,189.43 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.1% lower at 95.70.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index for September declined more than expected to 107.9 from a record high of 108.8, versus the Bloomberg expectation of a dip to 108.3.
Treasuries were higher in a return to action following yesterday’s holiday break, as the yield on the 2-year note was little changed at 2.88%, while the yields on the 10-year note and 30-year bond decreased 4 basis points to 3.20% and 3.37%, respectively. Treasury yields have rallied as of late to multi-year highs and the U.S. dollar has gained some traction to unnerve global sentiment. The markets are grappling with expectations that the Fed will continue to tighten monetary policy, lingering trade uncertainty, higher oil prices, festering political uneasiness in Europe, and the ongoing skittishness toward emerging markets.
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