Wall Street Mixed Mid-Day, Trims Recent Highs
U.S. stocks are struggling to build on last week's strong gains and are little changed today as investors and traders wait to see if the Federal Open Market Committee will this week roll-out another round of bond-buying. The market has also been spooked a bit by the release of weaker-than-expected trade data from China. Chinese imports fell 2.6% on the year in August, well short of expectations for an increase of 3.5%. Exports grew 2.7%, but below forecasts for a 3% rise in a Reuters poll.
In U.S. stocks, the transportation sector jumped to a quick start this morning, as did basic materials to a lesser degree, while the technology and non-cyclical consumer sectors ticked lower.
In corporate news, the Treasury Department today announced that it plans to sell $18 billion in American International Group ( AIG ) stock, lowering its stake to a minority position for the first time since it bailed out the insurance company nearly four years ago. The sale is expected to turn a profit on the government's initial stake that included more than $180 billion in committed aid, $67 billion of which was actually spent.
Looking at the week ahead, while the Fed is likely to take centre stage it should also be noted that the German Constitutional Court on Wednesday is expected to hand down a ruling that could impact the European Central Bank's (EBC) plans to preserve the euro. The EBC last week laid out its own bond-buying program with the aim of dealing with the continent's debt crisis.