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Major Averages Little Changed In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary

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After recovering from an initial move to the downside, stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Monday. The major averages have recently been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is down 20.73 points or 0.1 percent at 26,538.81, the Nasdaq is up 0.95 points or less than 0.1 percent at 7,999.01 and the S&P 500 is up 0.46 points or less than 0.1 percent at 2,905.49.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of a slew of earnings news from big-name companies in the coming days.

Coca-Cola (KO), Procter & Gamble (PG), Boeing (BA), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Intel (INTC), and Exxon Mobil (XOM) are just a few of the companies due to report their quarterly results this week.

The Easter Monday holiday, which has kept many overseas markets closed on the day, has also contributed to light trading activity.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a significant pullback in existing home sales in the month of March.

NAR said existing home sales plunged by 4.9 percent to an annual rate of 5.21 million in March after soaring by 11.2 percent to a revised rate of 5.48 million in February.

Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 3.8 percent to a rate of 5.30 million from the 5.51 million originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected pullback came after existing home sales reached their highest level in almost a year in February.

"It is not surprising to see a retreat after a powerful surge in sales in the prior month," said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. "Still, current sales activity is underperforming in relation to the strength in the jobs markets."

Sector News

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Commercial real estate stocks have come under considerable pressure, however, with the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index slumping by 1.8 percent. The index has fallen to its lowest intraday level in over a month.

Computer hardware, gold, and housing stocks are also seeing significant weakness, while energy stocks are moving sharply higher along with the price of crude oil.

Crude for May delivery is jumping $1.68 to $65.68 a barrel on news President Donald Trump will no longer grant sanctions waivers to a handful of buyers of Iranian oil.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Monday, with several markets closed for holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets remain closed on the day for the Easter Monday holiday.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after moving notably higher last Thursday. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.5 basis points at 2.585 percent.

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