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Stock Market News For Sep 20, 2019

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Benchmarks mostly closed in the green on Thursday on upbeatU.S. housing market as well as gains in Microsoft. Investors also stayed hopeful as U.S. –China’s delegates meet on Sep 26.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 0.2% or 52.29 points to close at 27,094.79. The S&P 500 added 0.09 points or less than 0.1% to close at 3,006.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 8,182.88, adding 5.49 points or 0.1%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 0.7% to close at 14.05. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.95-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.38-to-1 ratio favored advancers issues.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow closed down 52.29 points at 27,094.79 as gains in Microsoft Corporation MSFT and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH could not compensate the losses The Boeing Company BA and The Walt Disney Company DIS. The S&P 500 closed inches near high at 3,006.79 owing to gains in health-care and materials stock, as its industrial sectors still remained low.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and 13 new lows.

Healthy Economic Data

The existing home sales rose 1.3% in August from the previous month that includes a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.49 million.  As per the National Association of Realtors, this is the strongest pace of sales registered since March 2018.

As per the Labor Department reports on Thursday, the initial jobless claims for the week ending Sep 14 rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 208,000.  This increase is less-than-expected and points out ta healthy and strong labor market condition that can support the growth of the economy. In fact the continuing claims dropped to 1.661 million two weeks ago are clear indicators that the domestic employment can easily boost the economy.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell to 12 in September, though any reading above zero indicates improving condition the index is still in the down side. The reading settled at 16.8 in August but the decline in September was strongly due to fall in general activities and new orders, while the indexes for employment and shipments increased.

Microsoft Pushes Tech Stocks Higher, Apple Dips

The S&P 500 literally remained unchanged on Thursday thanks to the rise in Microsoft shares that compensated the decline in Apple Inc. AAPL.  After days of roller coaster rides Microsoft shares climbed high as it announced plans to buyback of $40 billion shares and raise dividend by 11%.

Microsoft that carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) share rose 1.8% on Sep 19. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

U.S.-China “Vice-Ministerial” Meet Scheduled

As the United States and China exchanged gestures of goodwill and agreed to meet at the beginning of October, investors’ sentiment uplifted and boosted the market. But on Thursday morning after a tabloid editor at the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China tweeted that China was in no rush to make a trade deal with the U.S., stocks started to shed.

Though the U.S. negotiators, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did express optimizing as  a new round of face-to-face a Vice Ministerial level talk is scheduled on Thursday, Sep 26. This talk will lay out the foundation for the high level talk that is supposed to happen in the beginning of October.

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