With traders expressing continued concerns about the outlook for the global economy, stocks are mostly lower in mid-day trading on Monday. Selling pressure has waned from earlier in the session, but the major averages remain stuck in the red.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering in negative territory. The Dow is down 22.59 points or 0.2 percent at 13,556.88, the Nasdaq is down 21.40 points or 0.7 percent at 3,157.56 and the S&P 500 is down 4.07 points or 0.3 percent at 1,456.08.
The weakness on Wall Street is partly due to troubling news from overseas, including remarks from an adviser to the People's Bank of China predicting that China's economic slowdown will continue.
Song Guoqing, a Peking University professor, forecast 7.4 percent Chinese GDP growth in the third quarter and 7.3 to 7.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter.
The numbers would represent a continued slowdown from the 7.6 percent growth seen in the second quarter and the 8.1 percent expansion in the first quarter.
Disappointing economic news out of Europe is also weighing on the markets, with the Ifo Institute saying its index of German business confidence fell to 101.4 in September from 102.3 in August. The drop surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge up to 102.5.
Highlighting an unexpected drop by the Ifo expectations index, which fell to 93.2 in September from 94.2 in August, Danske Bank said the data clearly signals that Germany is in recession.
Negative sentiment has also been generated by news of a disagreement between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande over the timing of the introduction of a banking union.
Among individual stocks, Apple (AAPL) is moving lower despite announcing that it sold over five million of its new iPhone 5 in the three days after its launch on Friday.
Gold stocks are turning in some of the market's worst performances in mid-day trading, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2.1 percent. With the loss, the index is pulling back further off the six-month closing high it set last Wednesday.
The weakness among gold stocks comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery sliding $12.10 to $1,765.90 an ounce.
Significant weakness has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent loss being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Veeco Instruments (VECO) is helping to lead the sector lower, falling by 9.6 percent after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to Sell.
Oil service stocks have also come under pressure amid a continued decrease by the price of crude oil. With crude for November delivery tumbling $1.70 to $91.19 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.4 percent.
Computer hardware, software, and biotechnology stocks are also posting notable losses, while railroad stocks are bucking the downtrend following recent weakness in the sector.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day down by 0.2 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 1 percent, the German DAX Index dropped by 0.5 percent, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved moderately higher, extending the upward move that was seen last week. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.5 basis points at 1.715 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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