(RTTNews.com) – Stocks continue to see notable weakness in mid-day trading on Friday after coming under pressure earlier in the session. With the drop on the day, the major averages are adding to the modest losses posted on Thursday.
Currently, the major averages remain firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 85.03 points or 0.5 percent at 17,900.16, the Nasdaq is down 48.43 points or 1 percent at 4,910.18 and the S&P 500 is down 15.33 points or 0.7 percent at 2,100.15.
Profit taking has contributed to the weakness on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 continuing to give back ground after ending Wednesday’s trading at its highest closing level in over ten months.
The decrease in bond yields, which move opposite of their price, reflects trepidation ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting as well as Britain’s referendum later this month on whether to stay in the European Union.
The Fed’s two-day monetary policy meeting will culminate with the release of the announcement next Wednesday followed by a press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Recent economic data suggests the Fed is likely to leave interest rates unchanged, but traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement.
On the U.S. economic front, the University of Michigan released a report this morning showing a modest drop in consumer sentiment in the month of June.
The report said the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for June edged down to 94.3 compared to the final May reading of 94.7. Economists had expected the index to dip to 94.0.
The modest decrease by the consumer sentiment index came after it reached its highest level since June of 2015 last month.
Energy stocks are seeing considerable weakness in mid-day trading, moving lower along with the price of crude oil. Crude for July delivery is currently tumbling $1.05 to $49.51 a barrel.
Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index are down by 2.7 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. The NYSE Arca Oil & Gas Index is also down by 1.6 percent.
Significant weakness has also emerged among gold stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent drop by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index. The index has turned lower after reaching its best intraday level in almost two years.
Biotechnology stocks also continue to see notable weakness in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index down by 1.7 percent. Agios (AGIO) is posting a steep loss on the day.
Financial, internet, steel, and computer hardware stocks have also moved to the downside, reflecting broad based weakness on Wall Street.
In overseas trading, stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped by 1.2 percent.
The major European markets also saw significant weakness on the day. While the German DAX Index plunged by 2.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dove by 2.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.9 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their best levels but continue to see moderate strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.8 basis points at 1.651 percent.
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