U.S. Stocks Finish Lackluster Session Mostly Higher

Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Monday but managed to end the session modestly higher. With the uptick on the day, the major averages all reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all finished the day in positive territory. The Dow rose 94.28 points or 0.3 percent to 35,913.84, the Nasdaq climbed 97.52 points or 0.6 percent to 15,595.92 and the S&P 500 edged up 8.29 points or 0.2 percent to 4,613.67.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is likely to leave interest rates unchanged but could announce plans to begin scaling back its asset purchase program.

However, a batch of upbeat earnings news has contributed to a recent upward trend, as most major companies have reported better than expected quarterly results.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday showed a modest slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of October.

The ISM said its manufacturing index edged down to 60.8 in October from 61.1 in September, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the index to dip to 60.5.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department released a report showing construction spending in the U.S. unexpectedly decreased in the month of September.

The report said construction spending fell by 0.5 percent to an annual rate of $1.574 trillion in September after inching up by 0.1 percent to a revised rate of $1.582 trillion in August.

The drop in construction spending came as a surprise to economists, who had expected spending to increase by 0.4 percent.

Sector News

Oil service stocks showed a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 2.9 percent.

The rally by oil service stocks came amid an increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for December delivery rising $0.48 to $84.05 a barrel.

Significant strength was also visible among tobacco stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index.

Biotechnology, networking and natural gas stocks also saw notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries regained ground after coming under pressure in early trading but still closed modestly lower. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped 1.8 basis points to 1.575 percent.

Looking Ahead

A lack of major U.S. economic data may lead to another light trading day on Tuesday, as traders continue to await the latest Fed announcement.

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