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Stocks Turning In Lackluster Performance In Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary

After failing to sustain an early upward move, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line after ending the previous session mixed.

The lackluster performance comes as traders digest a mixed batch of U.S. economic data on the last trading day of the first quarter.

While reports showing an increase in personal spending and an improvement in consumer sentiment have generated some positive sentiment, a separate report from the ISM Chicago showed a slowdown in the pace of growth in regional business activity.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although notable strength is visible among health insurance stocks. The Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index is up by 1.5 percent, rising to a new record intraday high.

Oil service and commercial real estate stocks are seeing more modest strength, while weakness has emerged among electronic storage, airline, and housing stocks.

The major averages are turning in a mixed performance, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting a modest loss. While the Nasdaq is down 4.88 points or 0.2 percent at 3,090.48, the Dow is up 28.38 points or 0.2 percent at 13,174.20 and the S&P 500 is up 1.67 points or 0.1 percent at 1,404.95.

by RTT Staff Writer

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