Stocks struggle to remain in positive territory; Nasdaq eyes best streak since October

U.S. stocks are struggling to remain in positive territory Thursday with major indexes flirting with all-time highs as investors weigh the continuing trade dispute between the U.S. and China against the backdrop of strong corporate earnings and a healthy economic performance.

How are benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.04% fell 19 points to 25,564, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.08% was up 1 point to 2,859. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.41% rose 25 points, or 0.3%, to 7,913.

Should the Nasdaq close higher, it would mark its eighth straight positive session, the longest such streak since October.

For the week, the Dow is set to gain 0.4%, the S&P 500 is on pace to advance by 0.7% and the Nasdaq is on track for a weekly return of 1.3%.

What’s driving the market?

U.S. earnings on the whole are solid with the number of companies beating estimates at the highest since third quarter 2009, according to JP Morgan Chase.

Upbeat results have helped to keep the stock market relatively resilient despite trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. On Wednesday, China warned that duties imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration on some $50 billion of Chinese imports set to be enacted on Aug. 23, would be matched and China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the country “has to retaliate as necessary.”

However, after getting knocked lower on Wednesday, China markets have bounced back, suggesting to global investors, at least momentarily, that the market of the world’s second-largest economy isn’t unraveling on trade clashes as it also battles a domestic slowdown.

Read: Behold the ‘scariest chart’ for the stock market

What data are in focus?

In the latest economic data, initial jobless claims fell more than expected in the latest week, while the July producer-price index was flat,

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