Stocks are turning in another lackluster performance in early trading on Wednesday after moving roughly sideways over the past week. The major averages are lingering near the unchanged line after closing mixed in four out of the five previous sessions.
The major averages have moved to the upside in the past few minutes and are currently posting modest gains. The Dow is up 9.52 points or 0.1 percent at 13,181.66, the Nasdaq is up 8.83 points or 0.3 percent at 3,025.81 and the S&P 500 is up 2.12 points or 0.2 percent at 1,406.05.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders digest a mixed batch of U.S. economic data. While the New York Federal Reserve released a disappointing regional manufacturing report, the Federal Reserve released a separate report showing a bigger than expected increase in industrial production.
The New York Fed said its general business conditions index dropped to a negative 5.9 in August from a positive 7.4 in July, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to 7.0.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve said industrial production increased by 0.6 percent in July compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 0.5 percent. The growth reflected increased output in each of the manufacturing, mining, and utilities sectors.
The Labor Department also released a report showing that consumer prices unexpectedly came in unchanged for the second consecutive month in July.
Uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets has also contributed to the lackluster trading seen over the past several sessions.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable strength has emerged among networking stocks. The NYSE Arca Networking Index has advanced by 1.1 percent, rebounding from the 2.3 percent loss it posted on Tuesday.
Health insurance, biotechnology, and banking stocks are also seeing early strength, while steel stocks have come under significant selling pressure.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled by 1.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has crept up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both remain down by 0.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside, extending a recent downward trend. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, has risen by 3.8 basis points to 1.764 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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