Prices ebb on Wall Street in quiet trading

After a challenging time last week, trading has got off to a quiet start today, with volumes continuing to be low as market participants take holiday breaks.

By early afternoon in New York, the Dow had slipped back just 0.1% or 15 points to 15, 410, with the S&P 500 dropping by a similar percentage amount. Both indices suffered losses on every day but one of last week, but today’s small declines are so minimal that they don’t seem to be indicative of any larger trend.

Much of last week’s losses was instigated by worries that the Fed could be on the verge of cutting back the pace of its monthly asset purchases. In the absence of any significant economic news today, the market has been in something of a lull, with the next major economic report coming tomorrow in the form of retail sales data for July.

The NASDAQ 100 has advanced today, rising 0.23% to 2135.7, boosted by the strong performance of Apple and F5 Networks. Apple rose following media reports that the new iPhone will be unveiled in early September as part of the company’s annual refresh of its product lineup. Shares in the technology giant climbed 2.6% to $350 per share. F5 Networks advanced 3.5% after being upgraded by a Barclays analyst.

Shares in Blackberry, the Canadian smartphone maker, surged more than 7% today after its board announced that they have put together a committee to investigate ‘strategic alternatives’ including joint ventures, partnerships or taking the company private. Blackberry has come under increasing pressure from its competitors, with its share price sliding 20% so far this year. Up against the iPhone and various android smartphones, the new Blackberry 10 smartphones have failed to turn around the ailing company’s fortunes.

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