Major Averages Showing Modest Moves In Morning Trading

Stocks are showing a lack of direction in morning trading on Friday, extending the lackluster performance seen over the two previous sessions. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has pulled back near the unchanged line after initially jumping to a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq is up 3.27 points or 0.1 percent at 6,052.21, the Dow is down 17.17 points or 0.1 percent at 20,964.16 and the S&P 500 is down 1.76 points or 0.1 percent at 2,387.01.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes after President Donald Trump warned of a major conflict with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

Trump said he wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea peacefully but argued a diplomatic solution is “very difficult.”

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing that economic growth slowed by more than anticipated in the first three months of 2017.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product increased by 0.7 percent in the first quarter after jumping by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected GDP to climb by 1.2 percent.

The weaker than expected increase in GDP in the first quarter represents the worst performance since a 1.2 percent decline in the first quarter of 2014.

Among individual stocks, shares of Intel (INTC) are moving notably lower after the semiconductor giant reported first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates but on weaker than expected revenues.

Chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) has also come under pressure after cutting its fiscal third quarter guidance due to Apple (AAPL) withholding future royalty payments amid a dispute between the companies.

Meanwhile, shares of Amazon (AMZN) seeing notable strength after the online retail giant reported first quarter results that beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) is also moving higher in morning trading after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings and revenues.

While many of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, considerable strength is visible among gold stocks. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is jumping by 2.2 percent after ending the previous session at its lowest closing level in over a month.

The rebound by gold stocks comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery rising $2.20 to $1,268.10 an ounce.

Steel, oil service, and brokerage stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, while weakness is visible among semiconductor, commercial real estate, and telecom stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index crept up by 0.1 percent.

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