Forex Trading

Major Averages More Decisively Mixed In Afternoon Trading

After moving in opposite directions early in the session, the major U.S. stock indexes continue to turn in a mixed performance in afternoon trading on Friday. While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have seen further downside, the Dow has climbed more firmly into positive territory.

Currently, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are off their lows of the session but still in the red. The Nasdaq is down 208.34 points or 1.3 percent at 15,393.16 and the S&P 500 is down 22.35 points or 0.5 percent at 4,988.77.

While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are currently on pace to close lower for the sixth consecutive session, the narrower Dow is up 244.09 points or 0.7 percent at 38,019.47.

The notable decline by the Nasdaq partly reflects a steep drop by shares of Netflix (NFLX), with the streaming giant plunging by 8.6 percent.

Netflix is under pressure after reporting better than expected first quarter results but providing disappointing revenue guidance.

Considerable weakness among computer hardware stocks is also weighing on the tech-heavy index, with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index plunging by 2.9 percent to its lowest intraday level in well over a month.

Semiconductor stocks also continue to see significant weakness on the day, as reflected by the 2.5 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Outside of the tech sector, retail stocks have come under pressure on the day, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index down by 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the Dow is benefiting from a notable advance by shares of American Express, with the financial services giant surging by 5.5 percent.

The jump by American Express comes after the company reported first quarter results that exceeded expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

Banking stocks also continue to turn in a strong performance in afternoon trading, driving the KBW Bank Index up by 2.1 percent.

Interest rate-sensitive utilities stocks are also seeing substantial strength, resulting in a 2.0 percent jump by the Dow Jones Utility Average.

An increase by the price of crude oil is also contributing to strength among energy stocks after Israel launched retaliatory strikes against Iran.

Crude oil soared overnight but has given back ground after Iranian state media downplayed the attacks, saying explosions heard in Isfahan were a result of the activation of Iran’s air defense systems.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plunged by 2.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped by 1.0 percent.

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

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their early highs but continue to see modest strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.6 basis points at 4.621 percent.

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