Stocks Pull Back As Tech Weakness Offsets Bank Rally

Stocks have moved mostly lower in morning trading on Thursday, giving back ground after ending the previous session notably higher. The major averages have all moved to the downside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a notable decline.

Currently, the major averages remain in the red but off their lows of the session. The Dow is down 38.18 points or 0.2 percent at 21,416.43, the Nasdaq is down 57.24 points or 0.9 percent at 6,177.18 and the S&P 500 is down 8.59 points or 0.4 percent at 2,432.10.

The pullback on Wall Street comes as renewed weakness among technology stocks has more than offset a rally by banking stocks.

Reflecting the weakness in the tech sector, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index and the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index are slumping by 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Gold stocks have also come under pressure on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.9 percent. The drop by gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.

On the other hand, banking stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside, driving the Dow Jones Banks Index up by 2.2 percent. Earlier in the session, the index reached a three-month intraday high.

The rally by banking stocks comes after the Federal Reserve approved the capital return plans of all 34 of the nation’s biggest banks as part of its annual stress test.

A number of financial giants have subsequently announced dividend increases and stock buybacks, with Citigroup (C) and JP Morgan (JPM) announcing their biggest share repurchase plans on record.

Energy stocks are also seeing notable strength in morning trading as the price of crude oil for August delivery is climbing $0.57 to $45.31 a barrel.

In economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing stronger than previously estimated U.S. economic growth in the first quarter.

The report said gross domestic product climbed by 1.4 percent in the first quarter compared to the previously reported 1.2 percent…

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