US stocks cling in shadow of government shutdown

US stocks have trimmed their gains, with a mid-morning retreat nobbling the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s attempt to stay in positive territory.

Investors have, for the most part, reacted calmly to the prospect of a government shutdown, which Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, sees as a 50-50 chance.

Bond markets are also looking relatively placid, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury up 3.1 basis points at 2.6425 per cent, the highest level since 2014.

The Dow is down 0.2 per cent at 25,973.74 at pixel time, while the S&P 500 is 0.1 per cent higher at 2,800.26, and the Nasdaq Composite is up 0.2 per cent at 7,304.53.

Leading gains for the S&P 500 are Nike, up 3.6 per cent, and Lowe’s, which today bowed to pressure from activist investor DE Shaw and added three new independent directors to its board.

Retail stocks were among the top performers overall, with Kohl’s, Under Armour and Best Buy all chalking up gains of more than 2 per cent.

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of six currencies, was up 0.1 per cent at 90.556.

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