Major Averages Narrowly Mixed After Recovering From Early Weakness

Following the pullback seen early in the session, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages have climbed well off their lows of the session and are now lingering near the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are narrowly mixed. While the Dow is up 62.00 points or 0.2 percent at 33,691.56, the Nasdaq is down 23.39 points or 0.2 percent at 11,341.02 and the S&P 500 is down 3.88 points or 0.1 percent at 4,015.93.

The early weakness on Wall Street came as some traders cashed on the strong upward move seen over the two previous sessions.

Concerns about the outlook for interest rates and the economy continued to weigh on the markets, pulling the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 down off their best closing levels in over a month.

A negative reaction to some of the latest earnings news also contributed to the early pullback, with 3M (MMM) posting a steep loss after reporting weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings and providing disappointing guidance.

Nonetheless, selling pressure has waned over the course of the session, with a lack of major U.S. economic data likely keeping some traders on the sidelines.

Reports on durable goods orders, fourth quarter GDP, new home sales and personal income and spending are likely to attract attention in the coming days.

Sector News

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

Considerable weakness remains visible among natural gas stocks, however, with the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index falling by 1.4 percent.

The weakness in the sector comes as the price of natural gas for March delivery is tumbling $0.134 or 4.2 percent to $3.088 per million BTUs.

Semiconductor stocks have also moved to the downside, giving back ground after helping to lead the markets higher on Monday.

Reflecting the weakness in the sector, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is down by 1.0 percent after ending the previous session at a five-month closing high.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has shown a significant pullback after Bernstein downgraded its rating on the company’s stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Pharmaceutical and healthcare stocks are also seeing some weakness on the day, while housing stocks have moved to the upside over the course of the session.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Tuesday, although most markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shot up by 1.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the upside after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.5 basis points at 3.480 percent.

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