Nasdaq Holding On To Strong Gain In Afternoon Trading, Dow Little Changed

Stocks moved mostly higher in morning trading on Wednesday but have recently seen considerable volatility. The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to post a strong gain.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 141.67 points or 1.2 percent at 11,854.82, and the S&P 500 is up 17.17 points or 0.4 percent at 3,953.86. Meanwhile, the narrower Dow is little changed, down 18.40 points or 0.1 percent at 31,808.65.

The jump by the Nasdaq reflects strong among tech stocks, which comes amid a positive reaction to earnings news from Netflix (NFLX).

Shares of Netflix have surged by 5.4 percent to a nearly three-month intraday high after the streaming giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings and a smaller than expected subscriber loss.

Semiconductor stocks also continue to turn in a strong performance afternoon trading, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index jumping by 1.6 percent.

Outside the tech sector, considerable strength remains visible among retail stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent advance by the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index. With the gain, the index has reached its best intraday level in well over a month.

On the other hand, gold stocks have come under pressure over the course of the session, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.8 percent.

The weakness among gold stocks comes as the price of gold for August delivery is falling $10.10 to $1,700.60 an ounce.

Meanwhile, the lackluster performance by the Dow comes as notable drops by Merck (MRK) and UnitedHealth (UNH) are offsetting strong gains by Salesforce (CRM) and Disney (DIS).

Shares of Merck have come under pressure after a late-stage trial of the drug maker’s Keytruda cancer drug did not meet its primary endpoint of event-free survival in head and neck cancer patients.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales tumbled by much more than expected in the month of June.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.12 million in June after slumping by 3.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.41 million in May. Economists had expected existing home sales to decrease by 0.6 percent to a rate of 5.38 million.

Existing home sales declined for the fifth consecutive month, falling to their lowest level since June of 2020.

“Falling housing affordability continues to take a toll on potential home buyers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Both mortgage rates and home prices have risen too sharply in a short span of time.”

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shot up by 2.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks fluctuated over the course of the session before closing modestly lower. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside after seeing early strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.3 basis points at 3.032 percent after hitting a low of 2.943 percent.

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