Major stock indexes were mixed and mostly unchanged in afternoon trading Thursday as Wall Street weighed earnings from Facebook (FB), Alibaba (BABA) and Tesla (TSLA) as well as details from a new House GOP tax plan.
XAutoplay: On | OffThe Dow Jones industrial average edged higher by 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite fell by the same amount. Small caps firmed up, with the Russell 2000 up 0.3%. Volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq was tracking higher than Wednesday’s levels, more so on the Nasdaq.
Facebook (FB), meanwhile, gave back 2% to 178.59, but it’s still holding above a 175.59 buy point. Facebook’s 50-day moving average around 172 is a key support level to watch.
IBD’s TAKE: Alibaba currently ranks No. 12 in the IBD 50, a great source of stocks to put on your watch list and find true market leaders. As seen in a graph on page B4 of the IBD Weekly newspaper edition, the price-weighted IBD 50 shows a total return of 750% from April 11, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2016, equal to an average annual gain of 16.9%. The S&P 500 has risen 242% over the same period.
In economic news, weekly jobless claims fell unexpectedly to 229,000 ahead of Friday’s jobs report, where non-farm payrolls are seen rising 325,000, but the consensus estimate range is pretty wide at 200,000 to 371,000. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.2%.
Meanwhile, details of the House GOP tax bill were released Thursday. Home-improvement retailers like Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW) sold off on news that a popular mortgage interest deduction would be cut in half. Wall Street took that to mean that homeowners might have less money in their pocket to make home improvements. Shares of Home Depot paid a visit to the 50-day moving average, falling nearly 2%. Lowe’s crashed 4%.
At 3 p.m. ET, President Trump is widely expected to name Jerome Powell, a member of the Fed Reserve Board of Governors, as the new Fed chief.
After the close, watch for earnings from Apple (AAPL). Shares added 0.4% to 167.58 ahead of the results. It’s near the top of a 5% buy zone from a prior 160.97 buy point.
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