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US markets close flat after London rate cut rally fizzles out

After mid-session high, market calms down by end of session

US stocks flatten out by end of session.
US stocks flatten out by end of session.

US markets closed flat on Thursday after a promising start turned into a slow descent after mid-session. 

The S&P 500 closed flat at 2164 after a mid-session high of 2167. The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index closed with virtually the same flat performance, steadying itself at 1,546. The S&P 600 ended at 736.

A much-anticipated UK rate cut led London stocks to rally and that became the cue for gains on Wall Street. Later, these gains totally unwound, although oil up 2.3% to $41.77 helped to support the US bourse.

Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE:RAX) was one of the few big winners today on the mid-cap circuit, as its stock jumped nearly 15% to $26.55 after the managed cloud services company received favorable analyst ratings.  


Mid-session

US stocks made some gains by mid-session Thursday after a Bank of England rate cut meant to stimulate the UK economy provided a positive upswing to London shares and this rubbed off onto Wall Street prices.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.1% to 2,165, though on a downward trend after a boost earlier in the day thanks to the news from the BoE. The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index gained 0.18%, to 1,549 after a similar yo-yo rise and fall. Meanwhile, the S&P 600 Small-Cap index was up 0.3% to 738.

The BoE cut was the first in seven years. Meanwhile, higher-than-expected weekly jobless claims and increasing layoffs in July for an energy sector largely hobbled by low oil prices were constraining investors from taking stocks higher.

Nevertheless the data did cheer investors. The labor market has seen jobless claims below the 300,000 threshold for 74 consecutive weeks, the longest streak since 1973.

Houston-based SAExploration Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAEX), an international oil fields service company, was up a phenomenal 264% after releasing second-quarter results showcasing a gross profit of $20.5mln and new capital of $30mln.


Opening

The leading indices have limped into positive territory, with bullish enthusiasm reined in by weekly jobless figures.

First-time jobless applications rose 3,000 to 269,000 last week, marking the highest level since the end of June.

The benchmark S&P 500 was barely more than half a point higher at 2,164, while the mid-cap index, the S&P 400, was up slightly less than half a point at 1,547.

Down among the mid-caps, the mood was slightly cheerier with the Russell 2,000 index up almost three points at 1,215.

Global information technology consulting and services firm Ciber Inc (NYSE:CBR) shed almost a third of its value after second quarter results disappointed.

The company made a net loss of US$53.3mln.

Going the other way – at speed – was SAExploration Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:SAEX) after its second quarter figures.

The shares shot up 218% as the company revealed income before taxes increased by 5.5% to US$3.6 million, or 6.3% of revenues, from $3.4 million, or 5.1% of revenues, a year earlier.


Preview

Wall Street shares are set for a higher start after the UK Central bank across the pond cut interest rates to 0.25% from 0.5%.

The UK economy has stumbled since the Brexit vote of June 23 through markets have recovered.

Now the Bank of England, led by governor Mark Carney, has cut rates to try and stimulate economic growth as the bank also  slashed its growth prediction for 2017 from 2.3% to 0.8%.

Stimulus measures include the purchase of £60bn of UK government bonds and £10bn of corporate bonds.

It is the first interest rate cut in the UK for seven years.

The FTSE100  index - of leading UK companies- rose over 1.4% or 93 points on the news to stand at 6,727.

Yesterday , in the US, tickers nudged higher by the close, as oil picked up to above $40 per barrel following a sharp decline in reported weekly gasoline inventories.

The S&P 500 index closed up almost seven points at 2,163, while the Dow Jones Industrial Index added 41 to 18,355 and the tech heavy Nasdaq added 22- to stand at 5,159.

In futures trading, the US is up almost five, the Nasdaq is 22 ahead, while the S&P500 is almost seven ahead at 2,163.

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