Stocks are turning in another lackluster performance in early trading on Wednesday after showing a lack of direction throughout the previous session. The major averages are showing only modest moves, lingering near the unchanged line.
The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Dow posting a slim gain. The Dow is up 6.47 points or 0.1 percent at 13,571.11, while the Nasdaq is down 3.53 points or 0.1 percent at 3,174.27 and the S&P 500 is down 0.81 points or 0.1 percent at 1,458.51.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders continue to express uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following the upward move seen over the past few months.
With the Federal Reserve's announcement of further quantitative easing now in the rear-view mirror, traders seem unsure about what the next catalyst for the markets will be.
The markets have largely shrugged off news of additional stimulus from the Bank of Japan, with the move largely seen as symbolic.
While the Bank of Japan increased its asset purchase program by 10 trillion yen, the purchases are exclusively earmarked for 2013.
In a research note, Capital Economics said, "The Bank of Japan surprised markets today with a move that gave the impression of coordinated easing by the major global central banks, providing a welcome boost to confidence."
"However, we had already expected them to ease by this amount in October, so although the timing is slightly earlier than we (and most others) had anticipated, it is not a game changer," the firm added.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing that housing starts rebounded in August but still came in below economist estimates.
The Commerce Department said housing starts rose 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 750,000 in August from the revised July estimate of 733,000. Economists had expected starts to climb to 768,000 from the 746,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, fell 1.0 percent to an annual rate of 803,000 in August from 811,000 in July.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although substantial weakness has emerged among railroad stocks. The Dow Jones Railroads Index has fallen by 2.3 percent, pulling back further off last Friday's record closing high.
On the other hand, airline stocks have moved sharply higher in early trading, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 1.8 percent. US Airways (LCC) and United Continental (UAL) are turning in two of the sector's best performances.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved to the upside on Wednesday following the news from the Bank of Japan. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index both ended the day up by 1.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both just below the unchanged line.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved notably higher, extending the upward move seen over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.7 basis points at 1.765 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com