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Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction In Early Trading - U.S. Commentary


After turning lower over the course of the previous session, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in early trading on Tuesday. The major averages are lingering near the unchanged line, as traders seem reluctant to make any significant moves.

The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Dow posting a modest gain. While the Dow is up 20.21 points or 0.2 percent at 12,985.81, the Nasdaq is down 7.72 points or 0.3 percent at 2,994.48 and the S&P 500 is down 0.54 points or less than 0.1 percent at 1,408.92.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders keep a close eye on developments in Washington, where lawmakers continue to struggle to reach an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.

Republicans in Congress sent a counteroffer to President Barack Obama on Monday, but the proposal was rejected by the White House.

The GOP continues to oppose raising tax rates on wealthier Americans and has proposed raising revenues by closing tax loopholes.

Leaders of both parties have accused those on the other side of the aisle of failing to offer serious plans, with familiar disagreements over taxes on the wealthy and entitlement reform serving as major sticking points.

Analysts have suggested that lawmakers will likely to continue to wrangle over how to avoid the fiscal cliff until the days leading up to the end of the year deadline.

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, early strength is visible among storage stocks. The NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index has advanced by 1.4 percent, reaching its best intraday level in almost a month.

Airline, steel, and networking stocks are also seeing early strength, while natural gas and retail stocks are seeing modest weakness.

Among individual stocks, Pep Boys (PBY) has come under pressure after the auto parts retailer reported a third quarter loss of $0.13 per share compared to a profit of $0.13 per share in the year-ago period. Sales fell 2.4 percent to $509.6 million, missing expectations.

On the other hand, shares of Toll Brothers (TOL) are seeing early strength after the luxury homebuilder reported strong fourth quarter earnings growth. The company also reported revenues that exceeded analyst estimates.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.3 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index inched up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just below the unchanged line, while German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength after ending the previous session in the red. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1 basis point at 1.618 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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