US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Close Mixed, Led Higher by the Nasdaq; Home Sales Unexpectedly Rose

Jobless claims rose less than expected
David Becker
E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index

US stocks in moved back and forth between positive and negative territory for most of the trading session. Stocks closed mixed with the Dow and the S&P 500 slightly lower and the Nasdaq closing in the black. Sectors were mixed, weighed down by energy and cyclicals, while healthcare and utilities were the best performing sectors. US yields edged lower, despite stronger than expected US existing home sales. The OECD reduced their forecasts on both US and global growth.

Tech shares were buoyed for most of the trading session as Microsoft shares attempted to break out. The shares of the software giant hit an all-time high of $142.37 up more than 3%, but eased into the close of the trading session.

The next impetus for the markets is geopolitics. Share prices can grind higher if there is little news about trade. There is always the potential for increased tariffs if President Trump does not believe the Chinese are negotiating in good faith. Additionally, the attacks on Saudi Arabia quickly faded from the headlines, but the issues with oil prices are unlikely to go away.

Global Economic Growth Declines

The OECD reported on Thursday that the global output of goods and services is expected to increase by 2.9% this year, the smallest annual rise since 2009 when the global economy was pushed into a recession. The OECD forecasts that US gross domestic product will increase by 2.4% this year and 2% the next year, having forecast growth of 2.8% and 2.3% in May of 2019.

US Home Sales Rise More than Anticipated

US home sales unexpectedly rose to a 17-month high in August as lower mortgage rates buoyed demand, according to The National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales increased by 1.3% to an annual rate of 5.49 million units last month. July’s sales pace was unchanged at 5.42 million units. Expectations were for existing home sales to decline by 0.4% to 5.37 million units. Existing home sales make up about 90 percent of US home sales.

Claims Remain Historically Low

The Labor Department on Thursday reported that Initial claims rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 208,000 for the week ended September 14. Expectations were for a rise to 213,000. The lower numbers suggest the jobs market in the US remains robust. The four-week moving average of initial claims, dipped 750 to 212,250 last week.

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