Wall Street pares gains

The major US stock indices were just about hanging on in positive territory heading into the last hour of trading in New York.

Late in the New York trading day, the Dow had given up most of its earlier gains, hovering just 0.1% above the previous day’s close, while the S&P’s gains were even more precarious, at just 0.07% as the index failed to hold ground above 1700.

The NASDAQ 100 fared the best out of the three major US stock index benchmarks, rising 0.54% to 3226, helped by Facebook, which broke above $50 per share for the first time.

The S&P 500 has been trading in positive territory all day, making it seem as though it was on course to break a run of five losses in a row, but heading into the final hour of trading on Wall Street it looks as if it could go either way.

The index remains well-up for the month, but after a strong start to the month, it has lost momentum as investors bag profits ahead of a potential US government shutdown on 1 October. That can be staved off should lawmakers in Washington strike a budget deal in the next few days, but it appears they will lurch from one predicament to the next, with issues surrounding the debt ceiling next on the agenda.

Tomorrow we have personal income & outlays for August, which includes the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index, a measure of inflation that is closely monitored by the Fed. We also have the consumer sentiment index for September from the University of Michigan.

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