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Stocks Turn Mixed After Seeing Initial Strength - U.S. Commentary

4/16/2012 10:03 AM ET

After moving notably higher at the open, stocks have turned mixed in early trading on Monday. The major averages have pulled back well off their highs for the young session, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq sliding into negative territory.

The Nasdaq has seen some further downside in recent trading, while the Dow and the S&P 500 remain positive. While the Nasdaq is down 20.57 points or 0.7 percent at 2,990.76, the Dow is up 92.34 points or 0.7 percent at 12,941.93 and the S&P 500 is up 2.09 points or 0.2 percent at 1,372.35.

The initial strength on Wall Street came on the heels of the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing much stronger than expected retail sales growth in the month of March.

The report showed that retail sales rose by 0.8 percent in March following a revised 1.0 percent increase in February. Economists had been expecting retail sales to increase by a much more modest 0.3 percent.

However, disappointing New York manufacturing data and uncertainty about corporate earnings helped to limit the upside for the markets.

Internet and networking stocks have subsequently shown a notable move back to the downside, helping to pull the Nasdaq into the red.

On the other hand, considerable strength remains visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain being posted by the KBW Bank Index.

Citigroup (C) is turning in one of the banking sector's best performances, advancing by 2.6 percent. The gain by Citigroup comes after the financial giant released its first quarter results.

While Citigroup reported net income that fell to $0.95 per share from $0.99 per share in the same quarter a year ago, the company's adjusted earnings rose to $1.11 per share.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are moving modestly higher despite the upbeat retail sales data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.9 basis points at 1.979 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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