U.S. Stocks Turning In Another Mixed Performance In Morning Trading

After ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in another mixed performance in morning trading on Thursday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has climbed firmly into positive territory, while the S&P 500 has edged up to a new record intraday high.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 86.92 points or 0.6 percent at 13,775.76 and the S&P 500 is up 8.17 points or 0.2 percent at 4,088.12.

The narrower Dow is bucking the uptrend, however, with the blue chip index slipping 50.13 points or 0.2 percent at 33,396.13.

The advance by the Nasdaq partly reflects strength among big-name tech stocks, with Tesla (TSLA), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) posting notable gains.

Meanwhile, drops by shares of Dow Inc. (DOW), Walgreens Boost Alliance (WBA) and Travelers (TRV) are weighing on the Dow.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended April 3rd.

The report said initial jobless claims edged up to 744,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 728,000.

Jobless claims rose for the second straight week after falling to a one-year low of 658,000 in the week ended March 20th.

The continued increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 680,000 from the 719,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Later in the day, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to participate in a virtual International Monetary Fund debate on the global economy.

Any comments Powell makes about U.S. monetary policy are likely to reiterate the Fed’s intention to maintain its ultra-easy stance for the foreseeable future.

Gold stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in morning trading, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2 percent.

The strength among gold stocks comes amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery climbing $16 to $1,757.60 an ounce.

Significant strength has also emerged among software stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent gain being posted by the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in well over a month.

On the other hand, energy stocks are seeing considerable weakness on the day, moving lower along with the price of crude oil. Crude for May delivery is sliding $0.60 to $59.17 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 2.9 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is down by 2.3 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is down by 2 percent.

Steel, banking and airline stocks have also moved to the downside on the day, partly offsetting the strength in the aforementioned sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Thursday, although Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.2 percent.

Most European stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both up by 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX Index has dipped by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher after ending the previous session nearly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.3 basis points at 1.640 percent.

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