Stocks have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, extending the downward move seen over the course of the previous session. Selling pressure has remained relatively subdued, however, limiting the downside for the markets.
The major averages have regained some ground in recent trading but currently remain in the red. The Dow is down 55.60 points or 0.4 percent at 13,147.98, the Nasdaq is down 3.50 points or 0.1 percent at 3,063.76 and the S&P 500 is down 3.56 points or 0.3 percent at 1,409.61.
Troubling economic news from overseas has contributed to the weakness on Wall Street, 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: Quote) has also weighed on the markets, with the PC giant falling by 6.4 percent.
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 has remained subdued, 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.
Meanwhile, shares of Sunrise Senior Living (SRZ: Quote) have moved sharply higher after the senior living services provider agreed to be acquired by Health Care REIT (HCN: Quote) for about $845 million in cash.
The deal values Sunrise Senior Living at $14.50 per share, representing a 62.4 percent premium to its closing price on Tuesday. Shares of Sunrise have jumped nearly 60 percent on the news.
With Dell leading the way lower, computer hardware stocks have come under considerable pressure on the day. Reflecting the weakness in the hardware sector, the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index is down by 1.1 percent, pulling back further off Monday's nearly three-month closing high.
Lexmark (LXK: Quote) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ: Quote) are posting notable losses along with Dell, falling by 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. HP is due to release its quarterly results after the close of trading.
Semiconductor stocks have also shown a notable move to the downside on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1 percent. NXP Semiconductors (NXPI: Quote) and Veeco Instruments (VECO: Quote) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances.
Tobacco, steel, airline, and telecom stocks are also seeing significant weakness, moving lower along with most of the major sectors.
On the other hand, housing stocks have moved sharply higher, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 2.3 percent. Toll Brothers (TOL: Quote) is posting a strong gain after reporting fiscal third quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded analyst estimates.
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 fell by 1.1 percent.
The major European markets also showed notable moves to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index dropped by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
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 6.4 basis points at 1.741 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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