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

Stocks are seeing modest weakness in mid-afternoon trading on Friday, although selling pressure has remained relatively subdued. The major averages have slid somewhat more firmly into negative territory after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session.

The modest weakness that has emerged on Wall Street may be partly due to profit taking, with traders cashing in on the recent strength in the markets amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook. Resource stocks have helped to lead the way lower amid a pullback by commodities prices.

Gold stocks are posting particularly steep losses on the day, moving to the downside along with the price of the precious metal. With gold for April delivery falling $12.40 to $1,709.80 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 2.1 percent.

Significant weakness is also visible among energy stocks, with the weakness in the sector coming as the price of crude oil has tumbled by more than $2 a barrel. Health insurance, housing, and trucking stocks are also posting notable losses on the day.

The major averages have climbed well off their lows for the session in recent trading but remain in the red. The Dow is down 30.43 points or 0.2 percent at 12,949.87, the Nasdaq is down 12.62 points or 0.4 percent at 2,976.35 and the S&P 500 is down 5.34 points or 0.4 percent at 1,368.75.

by RTT Staff Writer

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