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Nasdaq Reaches New Record High But Dow, S&P 500 Give Back Ground

(RTTNews) – Following the strong upward move seen in the previous session, stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. The Nasdaq climbed to a new record closing high, while the Dow and the S&P 500 gave back some ground.

The major averages finished the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq rose 57.62 points or 0.5 percent to 12,094.40, the Dow fell 173.77 points or 0.6 percent to 29,872.47 and the S&P 500 dipped 5.76 points or 0.2 percent to 3,629.65.

The mixed performance on Wall Street came as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.

Some traders looked to cash in on yesterday’s gains, although recent upbeat coronavirus vaccine news kept selling pressure relatively subdued.

Traders were also digesting a slew of U.S. economic data, with a report from the Labor Department showing fist-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased in the week ended November 21st.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 748,000.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to drop to 730,000 from the 742,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods increased by more than expected in the month of October, the Commerce Department revealed in a report.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders jumped by 1.3 percent in October after spiking by 2.1 percent in September. Economists had expected durable goods orders to climb by 0.9 percent.

Excluding an increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders still surged up by 1.3 percent in October after jumping by 1.5 percent in September. Ex-transportation orders were expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed the spike in gross domestic product in the third quarter was unrevised from the initial estimate.

The Commerce Department said GDP skyrocketed by an annual rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter after plunging by 31.4 percent in the second quarter. The unrevised reading on GDP matched economist estimates.

Another report from the Commerce Department showed new home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly edged lower in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said new home sales dipped by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 999,000 in October after inching up by 0.1 percent to a revised rate of 1.002 million in September.

Economists had expected new home sales to jump by 1.1 percent to a rate of 970,000 from the 959,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The Commerce Department also released a report showing a decrease in U.S. personal income in the month of October.

The report said personal income fell by 0.7 percent in October after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in September.

Economists had expected personal income to come in unchanged compared to the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Oil stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, resulting in a 2.2 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Oil Index. The index gave back ground after ending the previous session at a five-month closing high.

The pullback by oil stocks came despite an increase by the price of crude oil, as crude for January delivery climbed $0.80 to $45.71 a barrel.

Considerable weakness was also visible among tobacco stocks, with the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index sliding by 1.7 percent.

Chemical and banking stocks also saw notable weakness on the day, while gold stocks moved significantly higher amid an uptick by the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled by 1.2 percent.

The major European markets also ended the day mixed. While the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries finished the session nearly unchanged after seeing modest strength for much of the day. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down by less than a basis point to 0.878 percent.

Looking Ahead

Following the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday, trading activity may be subdued on Friday amid a lack of major U.S. economic data and an early close for the markets.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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