Major Averages Remain Mixed In Mid-Day Trading

With traders reluctant to make any significant moves, stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Friday. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is on pace to set another new record closing high.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 3.74 points or 0.1 percent at 5,918.09, the Dow is down 42.79 points or 0.2 percent at 20,685.70 and the S&P 500 is down 1.21 points or 0.1 percent at 2,366.85.

Traders often use the final trading day of the quarter to do some “window dressing,” but analysts have noted stocks are already poised to post solid gains for the first three months of the year.

Optimism about pro-growth policies under President Donald Trump helped to drive stocks higher, with the Dow up by 4.7 percent for the quarter.

However, buying interest has waned recently, as the failure of the Republican healthcare bill has led to uncertainty about Trump’s ability to achieve his policy goals.

On the U.S. economic front, a Commerce Department report showed personal income rose in line with economist estimates in February, although personal spending inched up by slightly less than expected.

The report said personal income increased by 0.4 percent in February after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.5 percent in January.

Economists had expected personal income growth to match the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said personal spending crept up by 0.1 percent in February after rising by 0.2 percent in January. Economists had expected another 0.2 percent increase.

A separate report from MNI Indicators showed that Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly saw a faster rate of growth in the month of March.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer inched up to 57.7 in March from 57.4 in February, with a reading above 50 indicating growth. The index had been expected to edge down to 56.5.

The University of Michigan…

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