Following the mixed performance seen in the previous sessions, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day narrowly mixed. While the Dow (DOWI:DJI) inched up 15.57 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 39,150.33, the Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) dipped 32.23 points or 0.2 percent to 17,689.36 and the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) dipped 8.55 points or 0.2 percent to 5,464.62.

For the holiday-interrupted week, the Dow jumped by 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 climbed by 0.6 percent, while the Nasdaq was nearly unchanged.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders took a step back to assess recent activity in the markets, which saw the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reach new record intraday highs on Thursday before turning lower.

The narrower Dow, on the other hand, saw further upside over the course of Thursday’s trading, and today’s uptick lifted the blue chip index to its best closing level in a month.

Traders also kept an eye on shares of Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), as the AI darling has recently been a key driver of the markets.

Nvidia tumbled by 3.5 percent on Tuesday and by slumped by another 3.2 percent today after briefly surpassing Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as the world’s most valuable public company on Tuesday.

On the U.S. economic front, The National Association of Realtors released a report showing existing home sales in the U.S. decreased roughly in line with economist estimates in the month of May.

The report said existing home sales slid 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 4.11 million in May after tumbling by 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.14 million. Economists had expected existing home sales to drop to a rate of 4.10 million.

The continued decline by existing home sales came as the median existing-home price reached a record high $419,300 in May, up 5.8 percent from $396,500 a year ago.

“Home prices reaching new highs are creating a wider divide between those owning properties and those who wish to be first-time buyers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

“The mortgage payment for a typical home today is more than double that of homes purchased before 2020,” he added. “Still, first-time buyers in the market understand the long-term benefits of owning.”

A separate report released by the Conference Board showed its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators fell by more than expected in the month of May.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index decreased by 0.5 percent in May following a 0.6 percent decline in April. Economist had expected the index to dip by 0.3 percent.

Sector News

Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves.

Gold stocks showed a significant move to the downside, however, resulting in a 1.4 percent decline by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The weakness among gold stocks came amid a sharp pullback by the price of the precious metal.

Considerable weakness was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 loss posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

On the other hand, networking stocks showed a strong move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 1.2 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.7 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index declined by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction over the course of the session before closing roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, crept up by less than a basis point to 4.257 percent.

Looking Ahead

The Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending is likely to be in focus next week, as it includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

Reports on new home sales, consumer confidence, durable goods orders and pending home sales may also attract attention next week.

SOURCE: RTTNEWS

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