After moving sharply higher at the open, stocks have given back some ground over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have pulled back well off their highs for the session, with the Nasdaq slipping into negative territory.
The early strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to news of a surprise interest rate cut by China's central bank as well as the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a drop in weekly jobless claims.
However, traders have reacted negatively to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee in Washington.
While Bernanke said that Fed "remains prepared to take action" if the economic situation worsens, traders seemed disappointed that the Fed chief did not specifically reveal plans for additional stimulus.
After moving mostly higher earlier in the session, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in late morning trading.
Notable strength remains visible among steel stocks, however, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 2.1 percent. On the other hand, gold stocks have moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 3.6 percent.
The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Nasdaq posting a modest loss. While the Nasdaq is down 2.20 points or 0.1 percent at 2,842.52, the Dow is up 67.78 points or 0.6 percent at 12,482.57 and the S&P 500 is up 3.30 points or 0.3 percent at 1,318.43.
by RTT Staff Writer
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