Stocks inch down as data fails to excite; tech stocks among losers

U.S. stocks edged lower on Thursday, with major indexes pulling back from near-record levels as excitement over a potential tax overhaul waned and economic data failed to spur much buying.

What are stocks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.08%

 fell 32 points, or 0.1%, to 22,308. The S&P 500

SPX, -0.10%

 was off 1 point to 2,506, having ended about 0.1% below its closing record on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.23%

 slid 9 points, or 0.2%, to 6,444. The tech-heavy index jumped more than 1% on Wednesday.

The Russell 2000

RUT, -0.32%

slipped 0.1% to 1,483. The index of small companies ended at a record on Wednesday.

Technology shares were among the weakest of the day, with the sector down 0.4%. However, that was offset by a rally in the energy sector, which rose 0.5%. Among notable movers, Microsoft Corp.

MSFT, -0.28%

fell 0.7% while Exxon Mobil Corp.

XOM, +0.75%

 was up 0.7%.

What’s driving the market?

The latest economic data painted a mixed picture of the economy. Jobless claims rose by 12,000 in the latest week, although this spike was tied to Irma and Harvey, two recent hurricanes that devastated Florida and Texas. Separately, a read on second-quarter economic growth was revised slightly higher, to 3.1% from 3%, though this was due mostly to farm inventories.

A couple of Federal Reserve speakers may draw some attention as rate-hike prospects heat up. Kansas City Fed President Esther George will speak on the economy and monetary policy at 9:45 a.m. Eastern. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer will speak on developments in central banking to a Bank of England conference in London at 10 a.m. Eastern. Fischer earlier this month said he’s planning to resign from the Fed next month.

On Wednesday, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he backs “regular and gradual” interest-rate hikes, saying they would be a form of insurance against the possibility of an overheated economy.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

What are market participants saying?

While stocks rose Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump announced his “once-in-a-generation” tax overhaul, the excitement that lifted equities was replaced by questions on how the plan will be put in place.

“We shall wait and see how Trump’s plans evolve into legislation,” said Deutsche Bank’s strategist Jim Reid in a note on Thursday. “Our U.S. team’s early take is that they see a prospect of some reforms occurring at the corporate level (particularly for small corporates), but the potential for substantive reform of personal tax is much lower.”

Which stocks are in focus?

Streaming software and device maker Roku Inc.

ROKU, +0.00%

 will begin trading on Thursday, after its initial public offering priced at $14 a share on Wednesday.

Read: 5 things to know about Roku

Exa Corp.

EXA, +42.48%

 surged 42% after French software company Dassault Systemes SE

DSY, -0.19%

 said it would buy the U.S. simulation-software developer in a cash deal valued at $400 million.

Shares of BlackBerry Ltd.

BBRY, +13.27%

 jumped 11% after a surprise profit and revenue beat.

Southwest Airlines Co.

LUV, +0.67%

 shares rose 0.6% after it said that natural disasters would have a negative impact on its operating revenue.

Read: These companies are expected to increase sales the most in 2018

What are other assets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index

DXY, -0.34%

 stalled after hitting a one-month high.

Gold futures

GCZ7, -0.07%

 fell to a six-week low, squeezed by dollar strength. Oil futures

CLX7, +0.58%

 were pushing higher.

European stocks

SXXP, +0.04%

 wavered, with just modest gains for some regional indexes. Asian markets

ADOW, -0.40%

 closed mostly lower, outside of a 0.4% gain for the Nikkei 225

NIK, +0.47%

Read: Japan parliament dissolved, snap elections called: report

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