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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Stocks mixed, bond yields dip after US economic data

Global stock indexes were mixed in choppy trading Thursday, while U.S. Treasury yields declined slightly after a series of U.S. economic reports suggested ebbing momentum.

The data mostly supported the view the Federal Reserve could soon begin cutting interest rates. It included a report showing first-time applications for U.S. unemployment benefits drifted lower last week, but the number of people on jobless rolls jumped to a 2-1/2-year high in mid-June.

Investors are gearing up for a debate late Thursday between Democratic President Joe Biden and his Republican rival Donald Trump.

Traders also are waiting for Friday’s U.S. personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data, which is the Fed’s preferred inflation measure and could help traders determine the U.S. rate outlook.

“The bond market is taking some of the weaker economic data to heart,” said Paul Nolte, senior wealth advisor and market strategist for Murphy & Sylvest in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Also, he said, “there is some expectation by equity investors that there might be something to come from the debate tonight. Is it something long term? No.”

The Japanese yen edged up from a 38-year low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, helped by the softening U.S. economic data.

But investors remained on high alert for any signs of Japanese intervention to prop up the currency.

Japan’s finance minister has said he would take any necessary action on currencies, and that Japanese authorities were “deeply concerned” about the effect of the yen’s drop on the economy.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.03% against the greenback at 160.77 per dollar.

Technology stocks led advances among the 11 S&P 500 sectors, followed by equities in communications and industrials sectors. Consumer staples stocks were the biggest losers.

The May private payrolls report on Wednesday was the latest data to suggest an easing in labor market tightness that could propel the Fed to begin cutting rates this year. A report on Tuesday showed job openings fell in April to the fewest in more than three years.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.13% at 105.91, with the euro up 0.23% at $1.0704.

Wall Street’s major stock indexes were mixed near flat. Chipmaker Micron Technology’s shares were down about 6% after a disappointing revenue forecast late Wednesday. An index of semiconductors was down 0.4%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.65 points, or 0.07%, to 39,102.15, the S&P 500 lost 1.89 points, or 0.03%, to 5,476.27 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 49.52 points, or 0.28%, to 17,855.83.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe fell 0.71 points, or 0.09%, to 803.02. The STOXX 600 index fell 0.43%.

France, Italy and Spain will also release inflation data on Friday.

Investors had become more worried about inflation following a surprise jump in inflation data in Australia on Wednesday and in Canada on Tuesday.

Also, the first round of French parliamentary elections will take place on Sunday.

In U.S. Treasuries, the yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year notes fell 2.4 basis points to 4.292%, from 4.316% late on Wednesday.

Brent crude oil futures rose up $1.14, or 1.34%, to settle at $86.39 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 84 cents, or 1.04%, to settle at $81.74.

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