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Stocks See Further Downside Following Initial Weakness - U.S. Commentary

4/4/2012 11:20 AM ET

After moving sharply lower at the open, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have slid more firmly into negative territory, adding to the losses posted in the previous session.

The substantial weakness on Wall Street comes as traders continue to express disappointment with the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which were interpreted as a sign that the central bank is not likely to engage in any further quantitative easing.

A disappointing Spanish bond auction and a weaker than expected reading on U.S. service sector activity have also generated some selling pressure, overshadowing a report from payroll processor Automatic Data Processing (ADP) showing continued job growth in the U.S. private sector.

While most of the major sectors have moved to the downside, gold stocks are posting particularly steep losses amid a sharp drop by the price of the precious metal. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 3.9 percent as the price of gold tumbles by more than $50 an ounce.

Significant weakness also remains visible among electronic storage stocks, with the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index down by 2.8 percent. SanDisk (SNDK) is leading the sector lower after the memory chip maker lowered its first quarter revenue guidance.

Networking, semiconductor, financial, and housing stocks are also posting notable losses in late morning trading amid broad based selling pressure.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 165.86 points or 1.3 percent at 13,033.69, the Nasdaq is down 53.42 points or 1.7 percent at 3,060.15 and the S&P 500 is down 17.67 points or 1.3 percent at 1,395.71.

by RTT Staff Writer

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