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Nasdaq Turns Higher As Treasury Yields Ease; Jobless Claims Fall to 52-Year Low

Tech and growth stocks are taking another beating Wednesday as inflation prospects accelerate, while weekly jobless claims fell to a 52-year low amid a holiday hiring push.

U.S. stocks pared earlier declines Wednesday, with tech stocks turning into positive territory amid a pullback in Treasury bond yields, as investors enter final full trading session of the Thanksgiving-shortened week consumed by inflation and growth concerns.

A key reading of the Fed's preferred inflation gauge, however, showed both few signs of abating price pressures and few surprises, with the core PCE Index speeding to 4.1% and the headline reading hitting a 1990 high of 5%.

Third quarter price pressures eased somewhat, as well, with the core PCE coming in at 4.5% compared to the 6.1% reading over the three months ending in June, while the second reading of third quarter GDP was nudged 10 basis points higher to a growth rate of 2.1%.

That was enough to pull benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields to 1.643% as bets bets that the Federal Reserve will accelerate its effort to fight inflation with faster bond purchase tapering began to abate.

Initial jobless claims for the period ending on November 20, meanwhile, fell to a post-pandemic low -- and the lowest since 1969 -- of 199,000, thanks in part to seasonal adjustments that typically follow the Veterans' Day holiday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 100 points lower in mid-day trading, while the S&P 500 slipped 1.75 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite, which was 180 lower at its early session trough, was marked 18 points higher.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report shares fell 1.1% higher after founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled another batch of share sales, offloading just over $1 billion in the clean-energy carmaker.

Gap Inc  (GPS) - Get Free Report  shares plunged more than 22% after the struggling apparel retailer cut its full-year profit forecast following a disappointing third quarter earnings report marred by supply chain disruptions and rising input costs.

Nordstrom  (JWN) - Get Free Report, too, shed more than a fifth of its value after the department store retailer warned of holiday supply shortages as rising labor costs and supply chain delays wreak havoc across the sector. 

On the other side of the ledger, Deere & Co.  (DE) - Get Free Report shares jumped 6.1% after the industrial equipment maker posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings while noting supply chain pressures will continue to pose a challenge to an otherwise solid profit outlook for its coming fiscal year.

Global oil prices slipped modestly lower in overnight trading amid a jump in the U.S. dollar and questions over demand strength in Europe as markets unwound their initial reaction to yesterday's decision from President Joe Biden's to sell crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Reports that Germany is mulling a national wide lockdown, as well as rising COVID infection rates around Europe, are also helping crude prices lower in the Wednesday session, with WTI futures for January delivery marked 2 cents lower at $78.49 per barrel. Brent crude contracts for January, the global benchmark, fell 5 cents to $82.29 per barrel. 

In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 gave back earlier gains to trade at a fresh 3 week low of 478.94 points amid both the lockdown concern and a weaker-than-expected reading for German business morale from the closely-tracked Ifo sentiment index.

In Asia, the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index was marked 0.22% lower on the session, while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo returned from yesterday's Labor Day Thanksgiving holiday to close 1.58% lower at 29,302.66 points.