Stocks are seeing modest weakness in early trading on Friday, extending the downward move seen late in the previous session. The major averages have all slipped into negative territory after ending Thursday's trading mixed.
The early weakness on Wall Street is partly due to waning optimism about the possibility of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve following Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee on Thursday.
While Bernanke said that Fed "remains prepared to take action" if the economic situation worsens, he made no explicit reference to further easing measures.
Steel stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances after seeing significant strength in the previous session. The NYSE Arca Steel Index is down by 2.3 percent after ending Thursday's trading up by 1.4 percent.
Considerable weakness has also emerged among oil service stocks, which are moving lower along with the price of crude oil. With crude for July delivery tumbling $1.98 to $82.84 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.8 percent.
Railroad, brokerage, and natural gas stocks are also seeing early weakness, while health insurance stocks are rebounding after falling sharply in the previous session.
The major averages have bounced off their lows for the young session but currently remain in the red. The Dow is down 23.16 points or 0.2 percent at 12,437.80, the Nasdaq is down 4.47 points or 0.2 percent at 2,826.55 and the S&P 500 is down 3.19 points or 0.2 percent at 1,311.80.
by RTT Staff Writer
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