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17 Sep 2021
2 min read

US Stocks Finish Mostly Lower Amid Mixed Data, Futures Flat

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Key Takeaways

  • Stocks traded mixed on Thursday as investors parsed the retail sales report and jobless data
  • Futures on Friday hovered modestly in the green, Dow futures were up about 0.1%

US Stocks Fall Broadly, Nasdaq Rises

Stocks in the US declined broadly on Thursday after mixed economic data signaled a possible setback in recovery.

The S&P500 slipped modestly by 6.95 points, or 0.16%, to end the session at 4,473.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 63.07 points, or 0.18%, to close at 34,751.32. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced slightly by 20.39 points, or 0.13% to settle at 15,181.92.

The three main indexes traded fairly quietly following a set of economic data releases, the retail sales report, and the initial jobless claims.

The US Economy Delivers Mixed Signals

The US economy showed it’s stayed resilient in August as sales at American retailers rose 0.7% over the last month, beating expectations for a drop by 0.8%. The figures showed month-on-month growth accelerated as July’s retail sales suffered a decrease of 1.8%, revised from 1.1%.

Retail sales, a measure of the overall value of sales at retailers, including stores, restaurants, and online, have signaled spending remained relatively elevated amid the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, fresh data from the Labor Department showed the number of Americans who applied for first-time unemployment benefits increased to 332,000 in the week ended Sept. 11, up from 312,000 in the week prior.

Investors struggled to find direction on Thursday, continuing the mixed trading throughout the month. The three major indexes have been drifting mostly sideways over the past couple of weeks as lingering slowdown fears have weighed on the market mood.

Investors Remain Cautious

After climbing for almost the whole year so far, stocks have struggled to perform in September and many market participants now worry a correction or a downturn may be on the horizon. Others, however, continue to believe there are strong reasons for the market rally to re-accelerate, given the growth in the labor market.

Ahead of the opening bell in New York on Friday, US stock index futures attempt to stage a rebound. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P500 were higher by less than 0.1%. Nasdaq futures were slightly in the red in pre-market trading on the last day of the week.

In Other Markets

In Europe, bourses are moving above the flat line on Friday, following a largely positive day for stocks. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 closed up almost half a percent on Thursday. All major stock indexes in the old continent finished the day in positive territory.

The price of bitcoin in the early hours of Friday hovered right near the $48,000 mark. The original crypto-asset declined on Thursday as a broader market drop dragged major digital currencies lower. Bitcoin has been consolidated near the area of $48,000 for the past three days. Despite the rangebound trading, bitcoin is on track to finish the week in the green.

Gold lost more than 2.2%, or over $40, as the market lifted the US dollar after the better-than-expected retail sales report. Gold slipped to $1,750 per troy ounce, its lowest level since Aug. 13. On Friday, the price of the precious metal has recovered a bit and currently floats above $1,760.

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