Stocks Close Roughly Flat Following Lackluster Session – U.S. Commentary

Stocks Close Roughly Flat Following Lackluster Session – U.S. Commentary

After ending the previous session mostly higher, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending the day roughly flat.

The major averages eventually ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the S&P 500 edged down by just 0.02 points to 2,913.98, the Dow inched up 18.38 points or 0.1 percent to 26,458.31 and the Nasdaq crept up 4.38 points or 0.1 percent to 8,046.35.

For the week, the Nasdaq climbed by 0.7 percent, while the Dow slumped by 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 fell by 0.5 percent.

Uncertainty about trade contributed to the lackluster performance on Wall Street as the U.S. and Canada approach a September 30th deadline to reach an agreement for Canada to join a trade deal struck between the U.S. and Mexico.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently said the U.S. is prepared to move ahead with the deal replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement without Canada.

Traders also kept an eye on developments overseas after the new Italian government offered a budget with a deficit target three times larger than the previous administration’s goal.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing personal income rose by slightly less than expected in the month of August, while personal spending increased in line with economist estimates.

The report said personal income climbed by 0.3 percent in August, matching the increase seen in July. Economists had expected income to rise by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said personal spending rose by 0.3 percent in August after climbing by 0.4 percent in the previous month. Spending had been expected to increase by 0.3 percent.

A separate report from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment improved by slightly less than initially estimated in the month of September.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for September was downwardly revised to 100.1 from the preliminary reading of 100.8. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

Despite the downward revision, the final reading for September still reflects a notable increase from the final August reading of 96.2.

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets.

Utilities and commercial real estate stocks saw considerable strength, while notable weakness was visible among tobacco and banking stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries closed roughly flat for the second consecutive session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, ended the day unchanged at 3.056 percent.

Looking Ahead

Next week’s trading may be impacted by reaction to the monthly jobs report due next Friday along with reports on manufacturing and service activity and remarks by several Federal Reserve officials.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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