Major Averages Turning In Mixed Performance Amid Cautious Trading

After ending the previous session in positive territory, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq has moved back to the downside, the Dow and the S&P 500 have moved higher on the day.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The Nasdaq is down 90.92 points or 0.7 percent at 13,806.38, but the Dow is up 217.53 points or 0.6 percent at 34,801.10 and the S&P 500 is up 6.34 points or 0.1 percent at 4,506.55.

Home Depot (HD) has helped to lead the continued advance by the Dow, while financial giants American Express (AXP), Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) are also posting notable gains.

Energy stocks are also turning in a strong performance on the day even though the price of crude oil is roughly flat.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.1 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 2.1 percent.

Considerable strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent jump by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Gold, natural gas and banking stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while weakness among semiconductor and networking stocks is weighing on the Nasdaq.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed wholesale inventories in the U.S. surged by more than expected in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories spiked by 2.5 percent in February after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.2 percent in January.

Economists had expected wholesale inventories to shoot up by 2.1 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Next week, traders are likely to keep a close eye on reports on consumer and producer price inflation, retail sales and industrial production.

The data may impact the outlook for interest rates amid recent indications the Federal Reserve plans to tighten monetary policy more aggressively than previously anticipated.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has jumped by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are up by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels of the day but remain in negative territory. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.6 basis points at 2.698 percent.

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