Wall Street struggles for direction as bond yields slide
By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street seesawed from red to black and back on Thursday as recessionary fears and simmering U.S.-China trade tensions offset upbeat retail sales data. All three major U.S.
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street seesawed from red to black and back on Thursday as recessionary fears and simmering U.S.-China trade tensions offset upbeat retail sales data.
All three major U.S. stock indexes struggled for direction as investors grappled with mixed messages of a strong consumer and dropping U.S. Treasury yields.
Those concerns were further eased when retail sales data surpassed analyst expectations. Consumers, who account for about 70% of the U.S. economy, stepped up their spending across the board in July, according to the Commerce Department.
"Consumer strength has a lot to do with the low unemployment rate and historically low interest rates," said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. "Money is cheap and people are working."
But other economic data was less rosy. Manufacturing output shrank more than expected in July according to the U.S. Federal Reserve, and initial claims for unemployment insurance came in above economist forecasts.
Bellicose rhetoric kept U.S.-China trade tensions at a low boil, as China vowed it would counter the last round of tariffs on Chinese imports and called on the United States to meet it halfway, while U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview any deal must be made "on our terms."
The prolonged escalation of the trade war between the world's two largest economies and its economic fallout have vexed global markets for months and shown few signs of resolution.
"(China has) a long history of looking at things in terms of decades, not election cycles," Keator added. "I'm not surprised that China's playing the long game."
Impending U.S. tariffs weighed on Cisco Systems Inc
Trade tensions also sent U.S. 30-year Treasury yield to a record low and the benchmark 10-year yield to a three-year trough.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 14.83 points, or 0.06%, to 25,494.25, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.67 points, or 0.02%, to 2,839.93 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 24.84 points, or 0.32%, to 7,749.10
Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, six were trading in the red, with energy <.SPSY> seeing the biggest percentage drop.
Trade-sensitive industrials <.SPLRCI> and tech <.SPLRCT> were down 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively.
Shares of department store operator JC Penney Co Inc
General Electric Co shares dropped 12.8% on the heels of a report from whistleblower Harry Markopolos accused the conglomerate of hiding $38.1 billion in potential losses and claimed its cash situation was far worse than disclosed.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.44-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and 58 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 17 new highs and 242 new lows.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
U.S. home sales fall as tight supply boosts prices | Reuters
France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.