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U.S. Stocks Finish Choppy Trading Session Modestly Higher

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June 18 2024 4:55PM

Following the strong upward move seen over the course of the previous session, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Tuesday. Despite the choppy trading, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq once again reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day modestly higher. The S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) climbed 13.80 points or 0.2 percent to 5,487.03, the Dow (DOWI:DJI) rose 56.76 points or 0.2 percent to 38,834.86 and the Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) inched up 5.21 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 17,862.23.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came following the release of a mixed batch of U.S. economic data, with reports on retail sales and industrial production telling two separate stories.

The Commerce Department released a report showing retail sales crept up by 0.1 percent in May after dipping by a revised 0.2 percent in April.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.2 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding an increase in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales edged down by 0.1 percent in May after slipping by a revised 0.1 percent in April.

Economists had expected ex-auto sales to climb by 0.2 percent, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.

“Retail sales came in really light this morning and while that may be good news for inflation hawks, it could be the beginning of a slowdown in growth, which would hurt a lot more than a couple of interest rate cuts would help,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve released a separate report showing industrial production increased by much more than expected in the month of May.

The Fed said industrial production jumped by 0.9 percent in May after coming in unchanged in April. Economists had expected industrial production to rise by 0.3 percent.

Sector News

While most of the major sectors showed only modest moves, gold stocks saw considerable strength amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1.5 percent.

Significant strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbing by 1.4 percent to a record closing high.

Banking and computer hardware stocks also saw some strength on the day, while housing stocks saw notable weakness, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.6 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.0 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index increased by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries rebounded following the pullback seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 6.2 basis points to 4.217 percent.

Looking Ahead

Following the Juneteenth holiday on Wednesday, trading on Thursday may be impacted by reaction to reports on weekly jobless claims and housing starts.