Stocks Close Mostly Lower Amid Geopolitical Concerns

After ending the previous session modestly lower, stocks saw continued weakness during trading on Wednesday. Selling pressure was somewhat subdued, however, limiting the downside for the major averages.

The major averages climbed well off their worst levels of the day but still closed in the red. The Dow dipped 36.64 points or 0.2 percent to 22,048.70, the Nasdaq fell 18.13 points or 0.3 percent to 6,352.33 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.90 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,474.02.

The weakness on Wall Street reflected geopolitical concerns amid a continued increase in tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

The lower close on Tuesday came on the heels of remarks by President Donald Trump warning North Korea against making further threats.

Trump told reporters further threats from North Korea would be “met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

North Korea seemed unfazed by the president’s bluster, however, as state media carried a statement indicating the communist nation is “carefully examining” a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

The back-and-forth came on the heels of reports the U.S. intelligence community has determined North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

A notable decline by Disney (DIS) weighed on the Dow, with the entertainment giant slumping by 3.9 percent on the day.

The drop by Disney came after the company reported fiscal third quarter earnings that came in above estimates but on weaker than expected revenues.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing labor productivity increased by slightly more than expected in the second quarter.

The report said labor productivity climbed by 0.9 percent in the second quarter after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in the first quarter. Economists had expected productivity to increase by 0.7 percent.

The Labor Department also said unit labor costs rose by 0.6 percent in the second quarter following an upwardly revised 5.4 percent spike in the first quarter.

Unit labor costs had been expected to climb by 1.2 percent compared to the 2.2 percent jump that had been reported for the previous quarter.

Sector News

Extending a recent downtrend, oil service stocks moved significantly lower over the course of the session. The Philadelphia Oil Service Index fell by 1.2 percent to its lowest closing level in over eight years.

The weakness among oil…

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