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Julie Young
Julie Young
Articles (1306) 

U.S. Stocks Trade Flat at Start of Week

Stocks flat on Monday with minimal volatility

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower on Monday, finishing the day at 17,705.91 for a loss of 34.72 points or 0.20%. The S&P 500 was higher, closing at 2,058.69 for a gain of 1.55 points or 0.08%. The Nasdaq Composite traded higher closing at 4,750.21 for a gain of 14.05 points or 0.30%.

The DJIA traded with minimal volatility Monday as no earnings reports for the index are scheduled for this week. Leading stocks in the index for the day were Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Merck (NYSE:MRK), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). Pfizer gained Monday with high volume trading as the company’s stock gained further momentum following its strong earnings report last week, which beat analysts’ expectations for both revenue and earnings. Sales in global innovative pharma, vaccines and consumer healthcare all appear to be reporting continued momentum.

In the DJIA losses for the day were led by Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) as energy and mining stocks were all lower Monday from lower oil prices. Overall, healthcare and utilities led the market for the day, while energy stocks were lower.

The day’s flat stock trading was primarily the result of lower oil prices combined with slowing momentum from economic indicators. The day’s leading economic report showed regression in labor market improvement following a weaker than expected jobs report Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Labor Market Conditions Index was down 0.9 points, continuing to show further losses despite broader strength in the labor market overall.

The recent first quarter GDP report of 0.5% combined with Friday’s weak jobs report is raising some caution for stocks and markets globally. The Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase of 160,000 jobs, which was 40,000 below consensus and far below the increase of 208,000 in March. The unemployment rate remained the same at 5%; however, consensus was for 4.9%. Many economists are reporting that the small increase in wages could help market factors. Average hourly earnings did increase 0.3% from March, though it still seems economic indicators are trending broadly lower.

Friday’s retail sales report will be another leading indication of the economy’s direction and overall health. Retail sales are expected to increase 0.9% from March, which will be significantly higher than the previous month’s -0.3%. Simultaneously this week, the market will also see a number of large department stores reporting earnings with numerous challenges pressuring revenue and earnings growth. In a CNBC interview Monday, market specialists discussed the retail industry and how retail department stores are affecting the broader market.

About the author:

Julie Young
Julie Young is a financial writer with comprehensive experience in the financial services industry. She writes about investments, investment products, financial market news and economic trends. Julie has a Master of Science in finance from Boston College and a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Arkansas.

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