U.S. Stocks Close Mixed Following Lackluster Session

Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday following the strength seen last week. Despite the choppy trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new record closing high.

The major averages finished the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq rose 55.71 points or 0.5 percent to 12,519.95, the Dow fell 148.47 points or 0.5 percent to 30,069.79 and the S&P 500 dipped 7.16 points or 0.2 percent to 3,691.96.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves after the major averages all reached record closing highs last Friday.

Traders seemed to be waiting for further developments regarding a potential stimulus bill before making any substantial bets.

A quiet day on the U.S. economic front also kept traders on the sidelines, although the Federal Reserve did release its consumer credit report later in the day.

Most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Energy stocks saw considerable weakness, however, with a pullback by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector. Crude for January delivery fell $0.50 to $45.76 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index both tumbled by 2.6 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index slumped by 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, gold stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 3.9 percent.

The rally by gold stocks came amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for February delivery jumping $26 to $1,866 an ounce.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets also ended the day mixed. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries regained ground after coming under pressure in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.1 basis points at 0.928 percent.

Trading on Tuesday may be impacted by reaction to the latest developments in Washington amid another relatively quiet day on the U.S. economic front.

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