Wall Street struggles for direction

Published: April 28, 2018 12:25:43 | Updated: May 01, 2018 09:46:12

US stock markets struggled for direction on Friday as inflation jitters and sagging technology and energy stocks offset an advance in the consumer discretionary sector led by Amazon.

Data showed that the US economy slowed in the first quarter as consumer spending grew at its weakest pace in nearly five years.

But a surge in wages in a tightening labour market and lower tax rates suggested the setback could be temporary, reports Reuters.

The US Treasuries yield curve flattened as the GDP data renewed bets that the Federal Reserve would continue hiking rates to keep inflation in check.

At 3:37PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 24.11 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 24,298.23, the S&P 500 gained 2.32 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 2,669.26 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.09 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 7,120.77.

Amazon.com helped move the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq into positive territory as the online retailer’s shares rose 3.8 per cent on the heels of a blockbuster earnings report.

Microsoft was up 1.6 per cent as the technology bellwether topped first-quarter estimates and grew its cloud computing services.

Following its profit miss, Exxon Mobil weighed on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, falling 0.9 per cent.

Sprint jumped 8.3 per cent following a Reuters report that the wireless carrier and rival T-Mobile were finalizing terms of a merger.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher and the defensive telecom and real estate sectors were the biggest percentage gainers, with 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent gains, respectively.

The energy index was the biggest loser, down 1.2 per cent, led by the drop in Exxon.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 52 new highs and 53 new lows.

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