U.S. Stocks Turning In Another Lackluster Performance

Extending the choppy trading seen over the past few sessions, stocks are turning in another lackluster performance during trading on Thursday.

The major averages have moved in opposite directions on the day, with the Dow adding to the slight uptick seen in the previous session.

The Dow reached a new high for the session in recent trading and is currently up by 148.84 points or 0.5 percent at 32,810.68.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 43.52 points or 0.4 percent at 11,335.96, while the S&P 500 is down 3.90 points or 0.1 percent at 3,947.49.

The advance by the Dow largely reflects a surge by shares of Salesforce (CRM), with the cloud-based software company soaring by 12.6 percent.

The spike by Salesforce comes after the company reported better than expected fourth quarter results, provided upbeat guidance and increased its share buyback program to $20 billion.

However, ongoing concerns about the outlook for interest rates continue to weigh on the markets amid a continued surge by U.S. treasury yields.

The yield on the benchmark ten-year note is extending the jump seen on Wednesday, reaching its highest levels in well over three months.

With the Federal Reserve warning about the impacts of labor market tightness, negative sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Labor Department report unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in initial jobless claims.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 190,000 in the week ended February 25th, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 192,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 195,000.

Computer hardware stocks have moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index down by 2.7 percent to its lowest intraday level in over a month.

Significant weakness is also visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent slump by the KBW Bank Index. The index has also fallen to a one-month intraday low.

Semiconductor and brokerage stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the sharp pullback seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 7.4 basis points at 4.068 percent.

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