U.S. Stocks Look Headed For Weak Close

After consistently recording new highs in recent sessions, the U.S. market is struggling to move higher Thursday afternoon despite having opened on a slightly positive note.

The Dow is down 155.21 points or 0.44 percent at 35,250.29. The S&P 500 is down 21.27 or 0.47 percent at 4,474.92, while the tech-laden Nasdaq is lower by 65.82 points or 0.44 percent at 14,976.04.

Traders are reacting to President of the St. Louis Fed James Bullard’s comments that he is of the view that the central bank should start tapering bond purchases in the fall and finish the process by the first quarter of next financial year. He has also called for a rate hike by end 2022.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Federal Reserve President George said the Fed should start trimming its monthly bond purchases “sooner rather than later” even though the delta variant poses a risk to the US economic outlook.

Traders now looking ahead to comments from Fed officials at the annual Jackson Hole symposium on Friday, remain reluctant to make significant moves.

Comments from Fed officials at the meeting may impact the outlook for monetary policy following recent indications the central bank plans to begin scaling back asset purchases this year.

The Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to provide cues on the central bank’s tapering timeline.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly higher in the week ended August 21st, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims inched up to 353,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 349,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to tick up to 350,000 from the 348,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Among the notable losers, Boeing is down more than 2 percent. Nike, Caterpillar, Travelers Companies, Intel, McDonalds and Walmart are lower by 1 to 1.7 percent.

IBM, Coca-Cola, Visa and Chevron are also notably lower.

Salesforce.Com shares are climbing more than 4.5 percent, continuing to ride on upbeat quarterly results.

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