Stocks wobble in afternoon trading, still lower for the week

<p><p>Stocks wobbled between small gains and losses Thursday afternoon on Wall Street in choppy trading while investors continue assessing the pace of economic growth.</p></p><p><p>The holiday-shortened week has given investors several reports, some conflicting, to review for clues on the direction of the economy’s recovery.</p></p><p><p>The broader market has been choppy amid concerns that the recovery has slowed.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 fell less than 0.1% as of 12:13 p.m. Eastern.</p></p><p><p>The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,016 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 and the Nasdaq are on track to end the week lower, the first down week after two weeks of gains.</p></p><p><p>Banks and other financial companies are rising, along with a mix of retailers and other companies that depend on direct consumer spending.</p></p><p><p>Health care stocks and consumer staples makers are falling, tempering gains elsewhere.</p></p><p><p>GameStop fell 4.1% after the video game retailer reported a worse-than-expected loss for the quarter.</p></p><p><p>The company has been at the center of a battle between a group of online investors and Wall Street hedge funds since late last year, causing the stock to be extremely volatile.</p></p><p><p>Lululemon rose 12.1% after the athletic apparel seller’s quarterly results came in well above analysts’ expectations.</p></p><p><p>Investors continue to monitor the progress of the economy and what the Federal Reserve plans to do as the economy continues to recover.</p></p><p><p>The Federal Reserve’s <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-economy-288cfcade206d73f5f5ef9bae3c6b569″ target=”—blank”>latest survey of the nation’s business conditions,</a> dubbed the “Beige Book,” said Wednesday that U.S. economic activity “downshifted” in July and August.</p></p><p><p>The Fed said the slowdown was largely attributable to a pullback in dining out, travel and tourism in most parts of the country, reflecting concerns about the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.</p></p><p><p>“The economy seems to be slowing down a little bit and it’s hard to know how much is temporary because of the delta variant and how much is the new normal,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.</p></p><p><p>Fed officials have indicated they expect to dial back on stimulus measures by year’s end, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that she will run out of maneuvering room to prevent the U.S. from breaching the government’s borrowing limit in October unless the debt ceiling is raised.</p></p><p><p>The Labor Department said Thursday that <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/business-health-pandemics-coronavirus-pandemic-economy-7df212b86c19811dff9d2f0a0f7b6ab2″ target=”—blank”>the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week</a> to 310,000. At their current pace, weekly applications for benefits are edging toward their pre-pandemic figure of roughly 225,000.</p></p><p><p>The upbeat report follows others that show the jobs market is still struggling to recover.</p></p><p><p>The Labor Department’s jobs survey for August was far weaker than economists expected, but the agency has also reported that employers are posting record job openings.</p></p><p><p>“The big question is whether the job market will get a lot stronger toward the end of this year into next year,” Zaccarelli said.</p></p><p><p>The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.32% from 1.33% late Wednesday.</p></p>