Led by gains in the technology sector, the major market averages were holding onto slim gains at midday on Tuesday, but off their best levels of the day as Wall Street positions for Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at 12:45 pm ET.
Early gains were surrendered in the wake of disappointing housing market and consumer confidence data, as well as on reports that North Korean was beefing up its border defenses, indicating their intention to follow through on threats to shoot down U.S. bombers.
While home prices inched up another 0.3% in July, new home sales fell to their lowest level since December 2016, a decline of 3.4% from July. At the same time, consumer confidence deteriorated as a result of two major hurricanes and on concerns about a correction in the stock market. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index dropped to 119.8 from a downward revised 120.4 in August, missing 120.2 estimates.
Lastly, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index rose to 19 in September from 14 the month prior, beating 13.0 estimates.
European stocks closed modestly higher thanks to a weaker euro which last dropped to a one-month low against the dollar. The UK's FTSE-100 was underwater with multi-nationals weighed down by the strengthening pound against the euro.
Crude oil was down $0.28 to $51.94 per barrel. Natural gas is unchanged at $2.92 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $8.10 to $1,303.50 an ounce, while silver was down $0.22 to $16.93 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $2.92 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.57% to $10.49 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was unchanged at $6.51. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.86% to 23.55 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.76% to $123.58. The iShares Silver Trust was down 1.55% to $15.96.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was down 5.97 points (-0.05%) to 12,135.70
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 5.44 points (+0.02%) to 22,301.53
S&P 500 was up 1.84 points (+0.07%) to 2,498.52
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.41 points (+0.15%) to 6,380.79
FTSE 100 was down 15.55 points (-0.21%) to 7,285.74
DAX was up 10.39 points (+0.08%) to 12,605.20
CAC 40 was up 1.63 points (+0.03%) to 5,268.76
Nikkei 225 was down 67.39 points (-0.33%) to 20,330.19
Hang Seng Index was up 12.67 points (+0.05%) to 27,513.01
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 2.28 points (+0.07%) to 3,343.83
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 30.66 points (-0.28%) to 10,846.29
NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 4.87 points (-0.07%) to 7,673.45
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 18.83 points (-0.14%) to 13,868.68
(+) IZEA (+28.57%) Received seven-figure contract renewal with financial services company
(+) GHL (+16.32%) Disclosed plans for a leveraged recapitalization plans for new capital structure
(+) MBRX (+14.21%) FDA approved application to begin clinical trials of annamycin
(+) TEUM (+11.93%) Announced entrance into eastern European telecom market
(+) ASNA (+8.99%) Reported better-than-expected Q4 results
(-) AXON (-72.54%) Phase 3 Mindset clinical trial of intepirdine failed to meet co-primary efficacy endpoints
(-) GNCA (-69.04%) Company is shifting its focus to cancer vaccines, cuts workforce 40%, ceasing development of genital herpes treatment
(-) KDMN (-18.21%) Plans to offer common stock and warrants