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Stocks Seeing Modest Strength In Mid-Afternoon Trading - U.S. Commentary

Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-afternoon trading on Tuesday, although buying interest has waned from earlier in the session. The major averages are seeing modest strength on the day, although the Dow continues to face resistance near the 13,000 level.

The markets have benefited from the release of a report from the Conference Board showing a significant improvement in consumer confidence in the month of February, with the data overshadowing disappointing reports on durable goods orders and home prices.

Airline stocks are turning in some of the market's best performances in mid-afternoon trading, as reflected by the 1.6 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The index is climbing further off the one-month closing low it set last Friday.

Notable strength also remains visible among semiconductor stocks, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 1.4 percent. Gold, brokerage, and pharmaceutical stocks are also seeing strength on the day.

On the other hand, housing stocks have come under pressure on the heels of the weak home price data. Networking, railroad, and commercial real estate stocks have also moved to the downside.

In recent trading, the Dow briefly dipped below the unchanged line, but it has climbed back into positive territory since then. The Dow is up 8.93 points or 0.1 percent at 12,990.44, the Nasdaq is up 11.42 points or 0.4 percent at 2,977.58 and the S&P 500 is up 1.68 points or 0.1 percent at 1,369.27.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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