Stocks showed a lack of direction early in the session and continue to turn in a lackluster performance in afternoon trading on Wednesday. The major averages have spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are slightly lower. While the Dow is down 72.94 points or 0.2 percent at 34,079.66, the Nasdaq is down 4.68 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 13,635.18 and the S&P 500 is down 1.88 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 4,376.50.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves following the recent upward trend.
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 have seen their longest winning streaks since November 2021, while the Dow and the S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s trading at their best closing levels in over a month.
Optimism the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates has contributed to recent strength on Wall Street, leading traders to keep a close eye on remarks by Fed Chair Jerome Powell this morning.
However, Powell refrained from specifically addressing monetary policy, focusing his remarks on praise for the work by the Fed’s Division of Research and Statistics.
The Fed chief is also scheduled to participate in a policy panel discussion before the 24th Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference on Thursday.
Traders also largely shrugged off the results of the Treasury Department’s auction of $40 billion worth of ten-year notes, which attracted average demand.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the downside amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.
With gold for December delivery falling $15.70 to $1,957.80 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index has slumped by 2.5 percent.
Considerable weakness is also visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent loss being posted by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.
Utilities, natural gas and oil producer stocks are also seeing notable weakness, while airline stocks have shown a strong move to the upside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. While Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid by 0.6 percent.
Meanwhile, most European stocks moved to the upside on the day. The French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent, although the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have climbed firmly into positive territory over the course of the session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 6.0 basis points at 4.511 percent.
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