(RTTNews.com) - Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday after failing to sustain an initial move to the upside. The major averages have been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are all in negative territory. The Dow is down 77.47 points or 0.3 percent at 24,371.22, the Nasdaq is down 37.68 points or 0.5 percent at 7,090.92 and the S&P 500 is down 4.24 points or 0.2 percent at 2,666.05.
The initial strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from companies such as Caterpillar ( CAT ) and Verizon (VZ).
However, the early buying interest was offset by a continued increase in U.S. treasury yields, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note climbing above 3 percent for the first time since early 2014.
The increase in treasury yields came following the release of some upbeat economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a bigger than expected increase in new home sales in the month of March.
The report said new home sales soared by 4.0 percent to an annual rate of 694,000 in March after surging up by 3.6 percent to a revised rate of 667,000 in February. Economists had expected new home sales to climb by 1.9 percent.
With the bigger than expected increase, new home sales rose to their highest annual rate since hitting 711,000 last November. New home sales were up by 8.8 percent year-over-year.
A separate report from the Conference Board showed an unexpected improvement in consumer confidence in the month of April.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 128.7 in April from a revised 127.0 in March. Economists had expected the index to dip to 126.1 from the 127.7 originally reported for the previous month.
"Overall, confidence levels remain strong and suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board.
The subsequent pullback by the markets was partly due to notable declines by Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and conglomerate 3M (MMM).
Alphabet is under pressure despite reporting better than expected first quarter results, while 3M is posting a steep loss after lowering its full-year guidance.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Banking stocks continue to see significant strength, however, with the KBW Bank Index climbing by 1.8 percent. With the upward move, the index has reached its best intraday level in a month.
Steel, gold, and oil service stocks are also seeing notable strength, although buying interest has remained relatively subdued.
On the other hand, tobacco stocks are extending a recent sell-off, dragging the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index down by 1.5 percent to its lowest intraday level in over two months.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels of the day but continue to see modest weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.5 basis points at 2.988 percent.
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