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Stocks Remain Firmly Negative In Mid-Afternoon Trading - U.S. Commentary

Stocks continue to see considerable weakness in mid-afternoon trading on Monday, although selling pressure was waned from earlier in the session. The major averages remain stuck firmly in the red after falling sharply earlier in the session.

The weakness on Wall Street comes on the heels of the release of disappointing economic data from China and Europe, which has led to renewed concerns about the global economic outlook.

Traders have also reacted negatively to news that French President Nicolas Sarkozy came in second in a first round of voting, losing to socialist Francois Hollande. Sarkozy is expected to face an uphill battle in a run-off election against Hollande on May 6th.

Gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2.9 percent to its lowest intraday level in almost two years. A drop by the price of gold has contributed to the weakness in the sector.

Significant weakness has also emerged among electronic storage stocks, as reflected by the 3.1 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index. Quantum (QTM) and STEC, Inc. (STEC) are turning in two of the sector's best performances.

Steel, housing, airline, and networking stocks are also posting steep losses, moving notably lower along with most of the major sectors amid broad based weakness.

The major averages have been more or less rangebound in recent trading, lingering firmly in negative territory. The Dow is down 150.23 points or 1.2 percent at 12,879.03, the Nasdaq is down 39.48 points or 1.3 percent at 2,960.97 and the S&P 500 is down 15.79 points or 1.2 percent at 1,362.74.

by RTT Staff Writer

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