Investors Remain Cautious, Stocks Mixed…..

U.S. equities finished near the unchanged mark in choppy action, as investors appeared to take a wait-and-see approach ahead of the first look at May’s inflation landscape that comes Thursday. The uncertainty surrounding rising inflation pressures persisted and what their implications could mean for the future of the Fed’s asset purchases. The economic calendar highlighted labor shortage issues, with small business optimism citing them as an impediment to activity and job openings notching a fresh record high north of 9 million. In other economic news, the trade deficit narrowed roughly in line with forecasts as exports rose and imports fell. On the equity front, Marvell Technology and Thor Industries both topped earnings estimates and issued favorable guidance, while Southwest Airlines raised its plans to order more of Dow member Boeing Company’s 737 MAX jets and provided a favorable assessment of business trends. Treasuries were higher amid a rise in yields and the U.S. dollar ticked to the upside, while gold was lower and crude oil prices saw modest gains. Europe finished mixed after a recent run, while markets in Asia again diverged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 30 points (0.1%) to 34,600, while the S&P 500 Index nudged 1 point higher to 4,227, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 43 points (0.3%) to 13,925. In moderate volume, 940 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 5.8 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil gained $0.82 to $70.05 per barrel. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price declined $6.12 to $1,893.09 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—increased 0.2% to 90.12.

The trade balance showed that the April deficit narrowed to $68.9 billion, compared to forecasts of $68.7 billion, after March’s upwardly-revised deficit of $75.0 billion. Exports rose 1.1% month-over-month (m/m), and imports decreased 1.4%.

Treasuries were higher, as the yield on the 2-year note was little changed at 0.15%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond fell 4 basis points to 1.53% and 2.21%, respectively.

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