Major Averages Remain On Opposite Sides Of Unchanged Line - U.S. Commentary

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( - After moving in opposite directions early in the session, stocks continue to turn in a mixed performance in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The Dow and the S&P 500 have reached new record intraday highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has slid into negative territory.

Currently, the major averages remain on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is down 33.77 points or 0.6 percent at 5,346.15, the Dow is up 73.58 points or 0.4 percent at 19,195.18 and the S&P 500 is up 2.38 points or 0.1 percent at 2,207.04.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes amid news that the members of OPEC have reached an agreement to cut oil production.

Oil prices have skyrocketed in reaction to the news, with crude oil for January delivery spiking $3.70 to $48.93 a barrel.

The agreement marks the first time since 2008 that OPEC has agreed to curtail production and comes as a supply glut has weighed on prices over the past two years.

On the U.S. economic front, payroll processor ADP released a report before the start of trading showing stronger than expected private sector job growth in November.

ADP said private sector employment jumped by 216,000 jobs in November following a downwardly revised increase of 119,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to climb by about 160,000 jobs compared to the addition of 147,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that personal income rose by more than expected in October, although the report also said personal spending increased less than anticipated.

The National Association of Realtors also released a report showing a slight uptick in pending home sales in October. NAR said its pending home sales index inched up by 0.1 percent.

Sector News

Benefiting from the sharp increase by the price of crude oil, energy stocks continue to see substantial strength in mid-day trading.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 8.8 percent, the NYSE Arc Natural Gas Index is up by 6.2 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil & Gas Index is up by 5.7 percent.

Financial stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, with the Dow Jones Banks Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index climbing by 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Goldman Sachs ( GS ) is posting a standout gain after Deutsche Bank upgraded its rating on the financial giant to Buy from Hold.

On the other hand, gold stocks have come under pressure on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2.9 percent. The weakness in the sector comes as gold for February delivery is sliding $15.50 to $1,175.30 an ounce.

Significant weakness is also visible among utilities stocks, as reflected by the 2.5 percent drop by the Dow Jones Utilities Average. Housing, commercial real estate, and biotech stocks are also seeing notable weakness.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in yet another performance on Wednesday. China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1 percent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed just above the unchanged line and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both edged up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back sharply after moving higher over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 8.6 basis points at 2.388 percent.

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Referenced Symbols: DB , GS

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