Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Friday following the strong upward move seen in the previous session. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is up 5.73 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 20,584.44, the Nasdaq is down 3.46 points or 0.1 percent at 5,913.32 and the S&P 500 is down 2.61 points or 0.1 percent at 2,353.23.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes amid geopolitical uncertainty ahead of the first round of voting in the French presidential election on Sunday.
Recent polls have suggested the race is too close to call amid questions about the impact of yesterday’s terrorist attack that left one French police officer dead and two others wounded.
With no candidate expected to win more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will likely head to a runoff on May 7th.
Traders have largely shrugged off a report from the National Association of Realtors showing that U.S. existing home sales jumped to their highest level in ten years in March.
The report said existing home sales jumped 4.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.71 million in March after slumping by 3.9 percent to a downwardly revised 5.47 million February.
Economists had expected existing home sales to climb by 2.2 percent to a rate of 5.60 million from the 5.48 million originally reported for the previous month.
With the much bigger than expected increase, existing home sales surged up to their highest level since reaching 5.79 million in February of 2007.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Oil service stocks are seeing considerable weakness, however, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index slumping by 1.3 percent. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in five months.
Schlumberger (SLB) is posting a notable…