Stocks Close Mixed Following Lackluster Session – US Commentary – Morningstar

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WASHINGTON (Alliance News) – Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Monday after failing to sustain an initial move to the upside. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Eventually, the major averages closed mixed for the second consecutive session. While the Dow dipped 53.22 points or 0.2% to 25,053.11, the Nasdaq edged up 9.71 points or 0.1% to 7,307.90 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.92 points or 0.1% to 2,709.80.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came amid uncertainty ahead of the next round of trade talks between the US and China due to take place later this week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the US delegation to Beijing as the world’s two largest economies seek to reach a trade deal before an early March deadline.

A report from Axios said President Donald Trump’s advisers have informally discussed holding a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next month.

Two administration officials with direct knowledge of the internal discussions told Axios the meeting could come as soon as mid-March but stressed that nothing is set.

The report comes after Trump confirmed last week that he would not meet with Xi ahead of the deadline, when a jump in tariffs on Chinese goods is currently set to take effect.

Trump could delay the tariff increase if the talks between US and Chinese officials continue to make progress toward a trade deal.

A lack of major US economic data also kept traders on the sidelines, although reports on consumer and producer price inflation, import and export prices and industrial production are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Sector News

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

Transportation stocks showed a notable move to the upside, however, with the Dow Jones Transportation Average climbing by 1.3% to a two-month closing high.

Considerable strength also emerged among natural gas stocks, as reflected by the 1.5% gain posted by the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index. The index rebounded after ending last Friday’s trading at its lowest closing level in a month.

The strength in the natural gas sector came amid an increase by the price of natural gas, with natural gas for March delivery rising USD0.059 to USD2.642 per million BTUs.

On the other hand, tobacco stocks showed a significant move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index down by 1.2%. With the drop, the index pulled back off the nearly three-month closing high set in the previous session.

Gold stocks also came under pressure as the trading day progressed, moving lower along with the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Monday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped by 0.2%.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the UK’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8%, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1% and 1.1%, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after trending higher over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.5 basis points at 2.657%.

Looking Ahead

Trading activity may remain somewhat subdued on Tuesday amid another relatively quiet day on the US economic front.

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