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Stocks Moving Mostly Lower In Late Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary

Stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of morning trading on Thursday, extending the downward move seen over the two previous sessions. The major averages have slid firmly into negative territory, pulling back further off their recent highs.

Profit taking has contributed to the weakness on Wall Street, with some traders cashing in on the recent strength in the markets amid calls by a number of analysts for a correction.

Traders have also reacted negatively to the latest batch of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing weekly jobless claims at a nearly four-year low but above economist estimates.

Housing stocks are seeing substantial weakness in late morning trading, as reflected by the 2.6 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. PulteGroup (PHM) is turning in one of the sector's worst performances, falling by 5.6 percent.

Considerable weakness has also emerged among financial stocks, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index and the KBW Bank Index down by 2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Most of the other major sectors have also moved to the downside on the day, reflecting broad based selling pressure. Transportation, energy, and healthcare provider stocks are posting steep losses.

However, health insurance stocks are bucking the downtrend by the broader markets, with the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index up by 1 percent.

The major averages have move off their worst levels in recent trading but remain firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 64.55 points or 0.5 percent at 13,061.66, the Nasdaq is down 21.63 points or 0.7 percent at 3,083.33 and the S&P 500 is up 10.51 points or 0.8 percent at 1,395.03.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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