Stocks are showing a lack of direction in early trading on Tuesday, extending the lackluster performance that was seen in the previous session. The major averages are lingering near the unchanged line after ending Monday's trading mixed.
The major averages currently remain stuck near the flat line for the day, showing moves of less than a tenth of a percent. While the Dow is down 3.86 points at 12,867.53, the Nasdaq is up 0.36 points at 2,951.59 and the S&P 500 is unchanged at 1,365.51.
The choppy trading comes as the markets are scheduled for an early close, with a number of traders looking to get a head start on the Independence Day holiday on Wednesday.
A relatively light day on the economic front is also keeping traders on the sidelines, although the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its monthly report on factory orders at 10 am ET.
Economists expect orders for manufactured goods to edge up by 0.1 percent in May following a 0.6 percent decrease in April.
While a preliminary report showed that durable goods orders jumped by 1.1 percent in May, the increase in expected to be partly offset by a drop in orders for non-durable goods.
The report is not likely to attract much attention as traders look ahead to the monthly jobs report as well as monetary policy announcements from Europe.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, gold stocks have moved sharply higher along with the price of the precious metal. With gold for August delivery jumping $20.10 to $1,617.80 an ounce the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is up by 2.8 percent.
Oil stocks are also seeing early strength amid a notable increase by the price of crude oil, while moderate weakness is visible among airline and retail stocks.
Among individual stocks, shares of Microsoft (MSFT) are down by 1 percent after the software giant announced that it will take a $6.2 billion charge for the impairment of goodwill in its Online Services Division segment, mostly related to its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive.
Meanwhile, Barclays (BCS) is posting a modest gain after announcing resignation of its CEO Robert Diamond over the LIBOR rate fixing scandal.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Tuesday, benefiting from optimism about the possibility of further stimulus. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.5 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has risen by 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower after ending the previous session notably higher. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.7 basis points at 1.597 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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