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Major Averages Roughly Flat In Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary


Stocks are showing a lack of direction in morning trading on Wednesday after climbing to record highs in the previous session. The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line, unable to sustain any significant moves.

Currently, the major averages are roughly flat on the day. While the Dow is up 2.29 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 22,121.15, the Nasdaq is down 4.65 points or 0.1 percent at 6,449.63 and the S&P 500 is down 0.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,496.34.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders express some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following the move to record highs on Tuesday.

Traders may also be sticking to the sidelines ahead of the release of some key economic data over the next couple days.

Reports on consumer prices and weekly jobless claims are due to be released on Thursday, while data on retail sales, industrial production and consumer sentiment is scheduled for Friday.

A report released by the Labor Department this morning showed producer prices rose by slightly less than expected in the month of August.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand edged up by 0.2 percent in August after slipping by 0.1 percent in July. Economists had expected the index to climb by 0.3 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in August after dipping by 0.1 percent in July. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although considerable strength is visible among energy stocks. The strength in the energy sector comes as crude oil for October delivery is climbing $0.50 to $48.73 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index are jumping by 2.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Retail stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, while weakness is visible among trucking, steel, and gold stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.3 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is just below the unchanged line, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness, extending a recent downward trend. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.2 basis points at 2.183 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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