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Choppy Trading Persists On Wall Street In The Late Morning - U.S. Commentary

2/17/2012 11:05 AM ET

With traders reluctant to make any significant moves, stocks continue to show a lack of direction in late morning trading on Friday. The major averages remain near the unchanged line after ending Thursday's trading firmly positive.

The lackluster performance on Wall Street comes as traders are taking a breather following the rally that was seen in the previous session. Nonetheless, optimism about the financial situation in Greece has kept traders from doing much profit taking.

Despite the choppy trading, considerable strength has emerged among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The strength in the oil service sector comes amid a notable increase by the price of crude oil.

Strength is also visible among railroad stocks, with Freightcar America (RAIL) leading the sector higher after reporting better than expected fourth quarter results.

On the other hand, biotechnology stocks have come under pressure on the day, with Gilead Sciences (GILD) posting a steep loss after the company said a majority of patients using its hepatitis C treatment experienced a relapse within four weeks of completing the treatment.

Gold stocks have also shown a notable downward move, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1 percent.

The major averages have moved to the downside in the past few minutes but currently remain mixed. The Nasdaq is down 12.66 points or 0.4 percent at 2,947.19, while the Dow is up 17.07 points or 0.1 percent at 12,921.15 and the S&P 500 is up 0.42 points or less than 0.1 percent at 1,358.46.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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