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

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After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are nearly flat, showing moves of less than a tenth of a percent. While the Nasdaq is up 2.46 points at 8,123.29, the Dow is down 5.36 points at 26,651.03 and the S&P 500 is down 1.13 points at 2,932.55.

Traders seem reluctant to make significant moves amid uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets after yesterday's advance lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to record closing highs.

A mixed batch of earnings news from big-name companies such as Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT) and AT&T (T) is also contributing to the choppy trading on Wall Street.

Shares of Boeing have moved to the upside after the aerospace giant reported first quarter earnings that matched analyst estimates but pulled its full-year guidance due to uncertainty surrounding the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar reported first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines but has moved lower on the day.

Shares of AT&T are also seeing significant weakness after the telecom giant reported first quarter earnings that met estimates but weaker than expected revenues.

A light day on the U.S. economic front is also keeping traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of reports on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and first quarter GDP in the coming days.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors continue to show only modest moves, although significant weakness has emerged among oil service stocks.

The Philadelphia Oil Service Index has slumped by 2.2 percent after ending the previous session at its best closing level in over four months.

The pullback by oil service stocks comes as the price of crude oil for June delivery is sliding $0.54 to $65.76 a barrel following the release of a report showing a bigger than expected weekly increase in crude oil inventories.

Steel and computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable weakness in mid-day trading, while gold stocks have shown a strong move to the upside along with the price of the precious metal.

With gold for June delivery climbing $7.10 to $1,280.30 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is advancing by 1.4 percent.

Other Markets

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

The major European markets also ended the day mixed. While the German DAX Index advanced up by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dropped by 0.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the upward move seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.8 basis points at 2.522 percent.

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