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Major Averages Turn Mixed After Seeing Initial Weakness - U.S. Commentary


After moving to the downside at the open, stocks have regained ground over the course of the morning. The major averages have climbed off their worst levels of the day, with the Nasdaq bouncing into positive territory.

Currently, the major averages are on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is up 7.10 points or 0.1 percent at 6,989.07, the Dow is down 49.08 points or 0.2 percent at 24,552.19 and the S&P 500 is down 3.55 points or 0.1 percent at 2,652.45.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders are looking ahead to the release of reports on consumer and producer price inflation in the coming days.

Indications of rising inflation have recently raised concerns among traders that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at faster than previously anticipated rate.

Reaction to reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing starts, and homebuilder confidence may also impact trading.

Energy stocks are seeing considerable weakness on the day amid a decrease by the price of crude oil. Crude oil for March delivery is sliding $0.65 to $58.64 a barrel.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.9 percent and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is down 1.5 percent.

Brokerage and semiconductor stocks have also moved to the downside, while notable strength is visible among tobacco stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.3 percent. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the uptrend and fell by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength following recent weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.3 basis points at 2.844 percent.

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