Stocks have turned in a lackluster performance over the course of morning trading on Thursday, as traders seem reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the announcement of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders are largely staying on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Fed's monetary policy statement at about 12:30 pm ET.
Many analysts expect the central bank to announce another round of quantitative easing as part of an effort to stimulate the sluggish economy, although others have predicted that the Fed will only extend its pledge to keep interest rates at exceptionally low levels.
A lack of additional stimulus could lead to a sell-off on Wall Street, as stimulus hopes have helped to push the markets higher in recent weeks.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lack of direction being shown by the broader markets.
Nonetheless, considerable weakness has emerged among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. The loss by the index comes after it ended the previous session at its best closing level in well over four years.
Oil service, brokerage, and transportation stocks have also moved to the downside on the day, while strength is visible among tobacco, utilities, and telecom stocks.
The major averages have moved to the upside in recent trading and are currently posting modest gains. The Dow is up 20.29 points or 0.2 percent at 13,353.64, the Nasdaq is up 3.72 points or 0.1 percent at 3,118.03 and the S&P 500 is up 1.08 points or 0.1 percent at 1,437.64.
by RTT Staff Writer
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