Nasdaq Seeing Further Downside But Dow Posting Modest Gain

After ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in another mixed performance during trading on Tuesday.

The Dow is currently up 44.00 points or 0.1 percent at 32,476.08, with the blue chip index moving higher for the fourth consecutive session.

Meanwhile, a continued increase in treasury yields is weighing on tech stocks, dragging the Nasdaq down 81.30 points or 0.7 percent to 11,687.54. The S&P 500 is also down 8.19 points or 0.2 percent at 3,969.34.

The lackluster performance on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves as they await additional news out of the banking sector as well as some key U.S. economic data later in the week.

Friday’s report on personal income and spending in the month of February is likely to be in focus, as it includes a reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

With the Fed signaling last week that it expects just one more interest rate increase this year, traders will look to the data for clues about the timing of the final rate hike.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool currently indicates a 47.4 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged at its next meeting in early May and a 52.6 percent chance of a 25 basis point increase.

On the U.S. economic front, the Conference Board released a report unexpectedly showing a slight improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of March.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index inched up to 104.2 in March from an upwardly revised 103.4 in February.

The modest increase surprised economists, who had expected the consumer confidence index to slip to 101.0 from the 102.9 originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

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 extending the rally seen in the previous session, however, with a continued increase by the price of crude oil contributing to the strength in the sector.

With crude for May delivery climbing $0.41 to $73.22 a barrel after surging by $3.55 a barrel on Monday, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 2.0 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.6 percent.

Considerable strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Meanwhile, continued weakness among semiconductor stocks is weighing on the Nasdaq, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index falling by 1.6 percent.

Software stocks have also shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 1.0 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are seeing modest strength on the day. While the German DAX Index is just above the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the sharp pullback seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.6 basis points at 3.564 percent.

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