After moving modestly lower in early trading, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of morning trading on Thursday. The major averages have slid more firmly into negative territory after ending the previous session nearly unchanged.
The weakness that has emerged on Wall Street is partly due to profit taking following the recent strength in the markets, which lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 to five-year highs last Friday.
Renewed uncertainty about the financial situation in Europe is also weighing on the markets along with concerns that lawmakers in Washington will be unable to reach an agreement to avoid the automatic spending cuts currently due to go into effect at the end of the month.
Housing stocks have shown a notable move to the downside on the day, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.7 percent. Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) and M/I Homes (MHO) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances.
Considerable weakness has also emerged among internet stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Internet Index. Akamai (AKAM) has helped to lead the sector lower after providing disappointing first quarter revenue guidance.
Computer hardware, pharmaceutical, and semiconductor stocks have also come under pressure, moving lower along with most of the major sectors.
The major averages have edged up off their lows for the session in the past few minutes but continue to post steep losses. The Dow is down 111.31 points or 0.8 percent at 13,875.21, the Nasdaq is down 28.17 points or 0.9 percent at 3,140.31 and the S&P 500 is down 10.96 points or 0.7 percent at 1,501.16.
by RTT Staff Writer
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