Major Averages Turn Mixed, Dow Reaches New Record High

Stocks are showing a lack of direction in morning trading, extending the lackluster performance seen in the previous session. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow has reached another new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is up 11.69 points or 0.1 percent at 22,027.93, the Nasdaq is down 12.07 points or 0.2 percent at 6,350.58 and the S&P 500 is down 3.38 points or 0.1 percent at 2,474.19.

Traders remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

The report is expected to show employment climbed by 183,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.3 percent.

A report released by the Labor Department this morning showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended July 29th.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 240,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 245,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 242,000.

The Institute for Supply Management released a separate report showing a notable slowdown in the pace of service sector growth in the month of July.

The ISM said its non-manufacturing index dropped to 53.9 in July from 57.4 in June, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector. Economists had expected the index to dip to 57.0.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial increase in factory orders in the month of June.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Telecom stocks are seeing substantial weakness, however, with the NYSE Arca North American Telecom Index plunging by 2.8 percent. The index is pulling back off its best closing level in nearly two months.

Natural gas stocks have also moved notably lower on the day, while some strength is visible among networking stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved to the downside during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both fell by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are moving higher ahead of the…

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