U.S. Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction In Mid-Day Trading

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After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages have moved to the upside in recent trading. Currently, the Dow is up 79.95 points or 0.3 percent at 28,388.74, the Nasdaq is up 36.67 points or 0.3 percent at 11,553.16 and the S&P 500 is up 12.88 points or 0.4 percent at 3,456.00.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders keep an eye on the latest developments, as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNBC on Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have made "good progress" in talks but noted they "still have a ways to go" before an agreement is reached.

Pelosi and Mnuchin are expected to talk again today as they seek to reach an agreement on a new relief package before next month's elections.

In a post on Twitter, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said the Speaker and the Secretary have called for committee chairs to work to resolve differences about funding levels and language.

"With this guidance, the two principals will continue their discussions tomorrow afternoon upon the Secretary's return," Hammill tweeted.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed on Tuesday that he has warned the White House not to make a deal with Pelosi before the elections.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard urged Congress to pass a new relief bill in a speech at an online conference hosted by the Society of Professional Economists.

"The recovery remains highly uncertain and highly uneven — with certain sectors and groups experiencing substantial hardship. These disparities risk holding back the recovery," Brainard said.

She added, "Further targeted fiscal support will be needed alongside accommodative monetary policy to turn this K-shaped recovery into a broad-based and inclusive recovery."

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

Gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, however, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2.3 percent.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery jumping $15.20 to $1,930.60 an ounce.

Considerable strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

On the other hand, housing stocks have come under pressure over the course of the session, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.8 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slumped by 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their early lows but continue to see modest weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.6 basis points at 0.813 percent.

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