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Major Averages Close Thursday's Session Mostly Unchanged

Major Averages Close Thursday's Session Mostly Unchanged - CF Industries Holdings, Inc. NYSE:CF, Exelixis, Inc. NASDAQ:EXEL

The U.S. stock market was mostly unchanged on Thursday. The Dow recorded a small loss while the S&P and Nasdaq closed the session with small gains.

Major gainers on the session included Exelixis EXEL 17.89%, which added 18 percent on the back of a drug launch, and Pacira Pharmaceuticals PCRX 19.05%, which climbed 19 percent after its Q2 results. Losers included Inovalon Holdings INOV 27.19%, down 27 percent, and CF Industries CF 12.6%, which fell almost 13 percent after a disappointing earnings report.

Major Averages

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3 points, or 0.02 percent, to 18,352 on the day.

The S&P 500 added less than 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,164.

The Nasdaq climbed a little less than 7 points, or 0.13 percent, to finish at 5,166.

Initial Jobless Claims

The initial jobless claims number for the week of July 30 was 269,000, which came in slightly above of the consensus estimate calling for 264,000 initial claims. The prior week figure was 266,000 initial claims.

Continuing Claims

Continuing jobless claims for the week of July 23 were 2.138 million which was down from 2.144 million in the prior week.

Factory Orders

June factory orders fell 1.5 percent, which was better than the consensus estimate calling for a decline of 1.9 percent. In the prior month, factory orders declined 1.2 percent.

Commodities

The commodity complex was higher on Thursday, with the Bloomberg Commodity Index gaining 0.43 percent in afternoon trading.

NYMEX crude oil futures climbed 2.28 percent to $41.76 on Thursday while Brent contracts rose 2.46 percent to $44.16.

Precious metals were mixed on Thursday. COMEX gold futures were last up 0.15 percent to $1,366.70. The SPDR Gold Trust ETF GLD 0.17% added 0.17 percent to $129.87. Silver futures fell 0.40 percent to $20.39 on the day. The iShares Silver Trust ETF SLV 0.15% lost 0.15 percent to $19.35.

In the grains complex, corn and wheat were both lower during Thursday's session. Corn futures lose 1.19 percent to $3.3100 while wheat futures shed almost 2 percent to $4.0325. Cotton contracts added better than 2 percent on the day.

Bonds

Treasury prices were sharply higher. At the close of equities, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF TLT 0.75% was up 0.75 percent to $139.45.

Treasury yields were as follows: The yield on the 2-Year Note was 0.64 percent. The 5-Year Note was yielding 1.03 percent. The 10-Year Note was last yielding 1.51 percent while the 30-Year Bond yield was 2.25 percent.

Currencies

The U.S. Dollar was slightly higher. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF UUP 0.16%, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, traded up 0.16 percent to $24.75. The closely watched EUR/USD pair fell 0.19 percent to 1.1128 euros.

Volatility and Volume

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was lower on the session, falling nearly 4 percent to 12.38. The 52-week range in the VIX is 11.79 to 12.98.

Volume was very light on Thursday with around 42 million shares of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY 0.11% trading hands versus a 3-month daily average of just under 96 million shares. Trading in the PowerShares QQQ Trust QQQ 0.29% was also below average with just 12 million shares trading hands compared to a 3-month daily average of almost 24 million.

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