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US STOCKS-Wall St struggles for direction as Irma threatens Florida
2017年9月8日 / 下午3点34分 / 3 个月前

US STOCKS-Wall St struggles for direction as Irma threatens Florida

* Dollar index at its weakest since Jan. 2015

* Kroger falls as profit hit by aggressive price cuts

* Equifax down after massive data breach

* All three major indexes headed for weekly loss

* Dow up 0.16 pct, S&P down 0.05 pct, Nasdaq down 0.28 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Sept 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were mixed in choppy late morning trading on Friday as investors assessed the financial impact of Hurricane Harvey and tracked Hurricane Irma as it plowed toward Florida.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher, helped by a rebound in financial stocks, while the Nasdaq Composite edged lower, dragged down by Apple and Comcast. The S&P 500 was little changed.

The indexes, however, were on track to end the week lower, with many economists forecasting that third-quarter GDP will take a blow from the hurricanes.

Irma was set to hit Florida as early as Saturday, with FEMA warning that parts of Florida could be out of electricity for days, if not longer.

The hurricane, the strongest recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, comes on the heels of Harvey, which shut a quarter of U.S. refineries and 8 percent of U.S. oil production.

“Third-quarter GDP could be impacted by the hurricanes,” said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist at Russell Investments in New York. “I think (hurricanes) are factors in how markets are pricing recently, but fundamentals are driving decisions.”

Harvey may end up being the most expensive natural disaster in the United States since 1980, costing $70 billion to $108 billion, according to BofA Merrill Lynch.

The brokerage cut its estimate for third-quarter U.S. GDP growth by 0.4 percentage points to 2.5 percent.

At 10:54 a.m. ET (1454 GMT), the Dow was up 35.31 points, or 0.16 percent, at 21,820.09 and the S&P 500 was down 1.32 points, or 0.05 percent, at 2,463.78.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 17.62 points, or 0.28 percent, at 6,380.25.

Gold prices rose to their highest in more than a year and the dollar index hit its weakest since January 2015 as the broader markets braced for North Korea celebrating its founding on Saturday, and as Irma headed for Florida.

Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the teleservices and energy sectors leading the decliners.

The financial sector rose 1.18 percent, leading the advancers, recovering from a 1.6 percent decline on Thursday.

The sector is headed for its second straight week of declines as an interest rate hike in December becomes less likely.

Traders have sharply reduced the odds for another interest rate hike this year. The chances of a December move are at 26.4 percent, compared with 42 percent a week ago, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Equifax sank more than 15 percent, weighing the most on the S&P, after the provider of consumer credit scores said personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were hacked.

Kroger fell 6.5 percent after the biggest U.S. supermarket company issued a disappointing forecast.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,433 to 1,232. On the Nasdaq, 1,363 issues rose and 1,344 fell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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