Stocks Remain Mixed In Mid-Day Trading

Stocks continue to turn in a mixed performance in mid-day trading on Wednesday after an initial move to the upside. While the Dow is poised to set another new record closing high, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have pulled back into negative territory.

Currently, the Dow is up 38.71 points or 0.2 percent at 22,002.63, but the Nasdaq is down 26.70 points or 0.4 percent at 6,336.24 and the S&P 500 is down 4.84 points or 0.2 percent at 2,471.51.

The initial strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to the latest earnings news, with Apple (AAPL) moving notably higher after reporting better than expected quarterly results.

Traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves, however, looking ahead to the release of the Labor Department’s 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.

Payroll processor ADP released a report this morning showing private sector employment increased by less than expected in July.

ADP said private sector employment climbed by 178,000 jobs in July after jumping by 191,000 jobs in June. Economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.

“Job gains continued to be strong in the month of July,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “However, as the labor market tightens employers may find it more difficult to recruit qualified workers.”

Natural gas stocks are seeing significant weakness in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index plunging by 2.4 percent.

Within the natural gas sector, Range Resources (RRC) is posting a steep loss after reporting weaker than expected second quarter earnings.

Software, internet, and semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable weakness, while most of the other major sectors are showing only modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index dropped by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing initial weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which…

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