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US stocks mixed in morning trade, tech stocks pull back

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Wall Street was mixed on Thursday morning, having given up earlier gains and as tech and small-cap stocks pulled back from record highs.

The S&P 500 was flat, with gains for oil and gas names offsetting declines among tech stocks. The energy sector, which was up 1.8 per cent as the price of Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, gained 2.1 per cent to $76.92 a barrel.

Telecommunications, up 0.9 per cent, and consumer staples, up 0.8 per cent, were the S&P 500’s next best, while technology was the worst, down 0.9 per cent.

That latter weighed heavily on the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite, which retreated 0.5 per cent from yesterday’s record closing high.

Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5 per cent while the Russell 2000, which tracks small-cap stocks, was down ¼ of 1 per cent.

For those keeping an eye on milestones, the S&P 500 and Dow closed yesterday at three-month highs, while the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 chalked up new peaks.

US Treasuries rallied a touch through morning trade. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 1.1 basis points at 2.9644 per cent but had been as high as 2.994 per cent earlier today.

Yields, which move in the opposite direction to price, had lurched higher on Wednesday after policymakers at the European Central Bank dropped strong hints the central bank may halt is bond-buying programme this year in a move that could see investors rotate toward equities as fixed income loses key price support.

The dollar was weaker, though, with the DXY index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of peers, down ⅓ of 1 per cent at 93.328.

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