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Major Averages Lingering Near Unchanged Line In Early Trading

4/19/2012 9:45 AM ET

Stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in early trading on Thursday, as traders weigh upbeat bank earnings against disappointing jobs data. The major averages are lingering near the unchanged line after ending the previous session firmly in the red.

While better than expected earnings from Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) generated some positive sentiment earlier in the day, the buying interest has been offset by a Labor Department report showing jobless claims well above economist estimates.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in early trading, contributing to the lack of direction being shown by the broader markets.

Nonetheless, considerable strength is visible among biotech stocks, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 6.8 percent. Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) is posting a standout gain on news that the company rejected a takeover bid from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) valuing the company at $2.6 billion.

Health insurance and oil service stocks have also moved to the upside, while some telecom and computer hardware stocks are posting steep losses.

The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Nasdaq posting a modest gain. While the Nasdaq is up 6.09 points or 0.2 percent at 3,037.54, the Dow is down 3.33 points or less than 0.1 percent at 13,029.42 and the S&P 500 is down 0.12 points or less than 0.1 percent at 1,385.02.

by RTT Staff Writer

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