Stocks moved modestly lower at the start of trading on Wednesday, extending the downward move seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages slipped into negative territory but did not see much follow-through on the initial downward move.
The major averages have subsequently bounced off their lows, climbing back near the unchanged line. The Dow is down 6.35 points or 0.1 percent at 13,197.23, the Nasdaq is down 1.12 points or less than 0.1 percent at 3,066.14 and the S&P 500 is down 0.72 points or 0.1 percent at 1,412.45.
The early weakness was partly due to troubling economic news from overseas, with a report from Japan showing that the country swung to a trade deficit in July.
The report from the Japanese Finance Ministry showed a trade deficit of 517.4 billion yen in July compared to a trade surplus of 60.3 billion yen in June. Japanese exports fell 8.1 percent year-over-year, while imports rose 2.1 percent.
A negative reaction to quarterly results from Dell (DELL) also weighed on the markets, with the PC giant falling by 6.3 percent in early trading.
After the close of trading on Tuesday, Dell reported second quarter adjusted earnings that exceeded analyst estimates but on weaker than expected sales.
The company also lowered its full year earnings outlook and forecast a 2 to 5 percent sequential drop in third quarter revenues.
Nonetheless, selling pressure waned not long after the open, with traders reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting later in the afternoon.
Traders are likely to closely scrutinize the minutes, looking for indications regarding to the outlook for further monetary stimulus from the central bank.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although notable strength has emerged among housing stocks. Reflecting the strength in the housing sector, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index has advanced by 1.4 percent.
Among housing stocks, Toll Brothers (TOL) is up by 3.4 percent after the homebuilder reported fiscal third quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded analyst estimates. The company benefited from increased home deliveries and higher selling prices.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index ended the day down by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.1 percent.
The major European markets have also shown notable moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.9 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a strong upward move after closing nearly flat in the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.8 basis points at 1.757 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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