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Major Averages Lingering Near Unchanged In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary


Stocks are roughly flat in mid-day trading on Thursday after recovering from an early move to the downside. Despite the choppy trading on the day, the Dow and the Nasdaq have edged up to new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the S&P 500 is down 0.50 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,554.74, the Dow is up 8.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 22,881.03 and the Nasdaq is up 5.05 points or 0.1 percent at 6,608.60.

The initial weakness on Wall Street was partly due to profit taking after the major averages reached new record closing highs in the previous session.

A negative reaction to earnings news from Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan (JPM) also weighed on the markets, with both financial giants moving lower despite reporting better than expected third quarter earnings.

Nonetheless, selling pressure waned shortly after the start of trading, as traders may have been worried about missing out on further upside for the markets.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing producer prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.4 percent in September after edging up by 0.2 percent in August.

Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices still rose by 0.4 percent in September after inching up by 0.1 percent in August. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

A separate Labor Department report showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by more than anticipated in the week ended October 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 243,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level of 258,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 251,000.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although considerable weakness is visible among telecom stocks. The NYSE Arca Telecom Index is down by 1.8 percent, pulling back off its best closing level in nearly two months.

AT&T (T) has led the telecom sector lower after warning its third quarter results were negatively impacted by recent hurricanes in the U.S. as well as earthquakes in Mexico.

Oil service stocks have also shown a significant move to the downside, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 1.3 percent. The weakness in the sector comes as crude oil for November delivery is sliding $0.77 to $50.53 a barrel.

Computer hardware and banking stocks are also seeing some weakness in mid-day trading, while strength has emerged among software, steel, and transportation stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line, the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries continue to show a lack of direction after ending the previous session roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 2.341 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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