Major Averages Close Mixed Following Choppy Trading Session

After seeing initial strength, stocks turned mixed over the course of the trading session on Monday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow reached another new record closing high.

The major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Dow climbed 60.81 points or 0.3 percent to 21,891.12, the Nasdaq fell 26.55 points or 0.4 percent to 6,348.12 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.80 points or 0.1 percent to 2,470.30.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the monthly jobs report on Friday.

The report is expected to show employment climbed by 180,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.3 percent.

Reports on personal income and spending, manufacturing and service sector activity, and international trade are also likely to attract attention in the coming days.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing pending home sales rebounded by more than expected in the month of June.

NAR said its pending home sales index jumped by 1.5 percent to 110.2 in June after falling to 108.6 in May. Economists had expected pending home sales to climb by 1.0 percent.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

A separate report from MNI Indicators showed growth in Chicago-area business activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of July.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer tumbled to 58.9 in July from 65.7 in June. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth, economists had expected the index to drop to 61.0.

Sector News

Biotechnology stocks showed a significant move to the downside over the course of the trading session, dragging the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index down by 1.4 percent.

Immunogen (IMGN), Clovis (CLVS), and Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) turned in some of the biotech sector’s worst performances.

Considerable weakness was also visible among internet stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent drop by the Dow Jones Internet Index.

Social media giant Facebook posted a notable loss after Pivotal Research lowered its rating on the company’s stock to Sell from Hold.

Airline, natural gas, and chemical stocks also saw significant weakness, while strength was visible among steel and banking stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a…

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