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Stocks Seeing Modest Weakness In Late Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary

3/28/2012 11:01 AM ET

After coming under pressure late in the previous session, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have slid into negative territory, although selling pressure has remained subdued.

The modest weakness that has emerged on Wall Street may be partly due to the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing that U.S. durable goods orders rose by less than anticipated in the month of February.

Traders may also be cashing in on the recent strength in the markets, although there does not appear to be much conviction behind the downward move.

Steel stocks have helped to lead the way lower, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index falling by 2.5 percent. Mechel (MTL), AK Steel (AKS), and Olympic Steel (ZEUS) are turning in some of the sector's worst performances on the day.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among gold stocks, which are moving lower along with the price of the precious metal. With the price of gold falling by $15 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 1.8 percent.

Railroad, energy, and healthcare provider stocks have also come under pressure on the day, while strength remains visible among biotechnology and airline stocks.

The major averages are currently posting moderate losses, just off their lows for the session. The Dow is down 47.49 points or 0.4 percent at 13,150.24, the Nasdaq is down 9.13 points or 0.3 percent at 3,111.22 and the S&P 500 is down 5.99 points or 0.4 percent at 1,406.53.

by RTT Staff Writer

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