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Stocks Remain Mostly Negative In Mid-Afternoon Trading - U.S. Commentary

3/5/2012 2:13 PM ET

With troubling economic news from overseas overshadowing better than expected U.S. data, stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Monday. The major averages have all moved to the downside, adding to the modest losses posted in the previous session.

The weakness on Wall Street is largely due to news that China has cut its outlook for GDP growth in 2012, raising concerns about demand in the world's second largest economy. Disappointing economic data from Europe has also generated negative sentiment.

As a result of the troubling news from overseas, traders have largely shrugged of the release of a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing that U.S. service sector activity unexpectedly expanded at a faster rate in the month of February.

Steel stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances in mid-afternoon trading amid concerns about the outlook for global demand. Reflecting the weakness in the sector, the NYSE Steel Index has tumbled by 3.1 percent.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Gold, oil service, biotech, and chemical stocks are also under pressure amid broad based weakness.

The major averages currently all remain in the red, although the Dow is posting a relatively modest loss compared to the broader Nasdaq and S&P 500.

While the Dow is down 39.54 points or 0.3 percent at 12,938.03, the Nasdaq is down 31.30 points or 1.1 percent at 2,944.89 and the S&P 500 is down 8.31 points or 0.6 percent at 1,361.32.

by RTT Staff Writer

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