Stocks moved mostly higher at the start of trading on Wednesday but have given back ground over the course of the morning. The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session and 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 57.85 points or 0.2 percent at 33,561.03, the S&P 500 is up 0.19 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 4,273.72 and the Nasdaq is up 15.67 points or 0.1 percent at 13,079.28.
The initial strength on Wall Street came as traders made another attempt at bargain hunting, picking up stocks at reduced levels following the steep losses posted on Tuesday.
The sharp decline in yesterday’s trading dragged the major averages down to their lowest closing levels in over three months.
However, buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, as concerns about the outlook for interest rates continue to hang over the markets.
Recent comments from the likes of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari have led to worries the Federal Reserve may raise rates higher than previously anticipated.
The pullback by stocks also came as treasury yields rebounded after seeing initial weakness, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note bouncing back near the unchanged line.
In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest rebound in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the month of August.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders crept up by 0.2 percent in August after plunging by a revised 5.6 percent in July.
The uptick surprised economists, who had expected durable goods orders to fall by 0.5 percent compared to the 5.2 percent nosedive that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding a modest decrease in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.4 percent in August after inching up by a downwardly revised 0.1 percent in July.
Economists had expected ex-transportation orders to edge up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Energy stocks are seeing substantial strength, however, with a sharp increase by the price of crude oil contributing to the rally.
With crude for November delivery soaring $2.77 to $93.16 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.2 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 2.2 percent.
A notable increase by the price of natural gas is also contributing to strength among associated stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index.
On the other hand, gold stocks are moving sharply lower amid a continued decrease by the price of the precious metal, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2.3 percent.
In overseas trading, most stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index both edged up by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has slid by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have once again pulled back near the unchanged line after seeing early strength. Currently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is unchanged at 4.558 percent after hitting a low of 4.491 percent.
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