The benchmark averages have surrendered earlier gains on news that China has deployed 150,000 troops to the North Korean border, and the U.S. is considering further sanctions against Russia. The reports caused the S&P 500 to falter at trendline resistance at 2,370 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall back to support at the 50-day moving average.
Stocks were cautiously higher before Monday's open amid geopolitical pressures and jitters ahead of Q1 earnings from the country's largest banks. As the morning progressed, the averages gained altitude before running into a wall of resistance that was exacerbated by reports of troop deployments on the Chinese border with North Korea by a Korean news agency.
Among the eleven S&P 500 sectors, financials were taking the brunt of selling pressure, followed by losses in technology and telecommunication sectors. Energy shares continued to outperform with oil futures buoyed by concerns tied to the Middle East, and supply reductions from Libya.
European shares were lower in sympathy with the U.S. with commodity shares sharing the burden with oil stocks despite the uptick in oil futures.
Crude oil was up $0.64 to $52.88 per barrel. Natural gas was unchanged at $3.26 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.80 to $1,258.00 an ounce, while silver was up $0.27 to $17.88 an ounce. Copper was down $0.04 to $2.61 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.23% to $11.01 while the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.13% to $7.72. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up $0.26 to 23.56. SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.07% to $119.38. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.41% to $16.96.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was up 16.12 points (+0.14%) to 11,461.89
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 0.50 points (+0.00%) to 20,655.00
S&P 500 was up 0.31 points (+0.01%) to 2,355.95
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.62 points (+0.01%) to 5,878.28
FTSE 100 was down 5.10 points (-0.07%) to 7,354.47
DAX was down 5.81 points (-0.05%) to 12,219.25
CAC 40 was down 19.94 points (-0.39%) to 5,115.34
Nikkei 225 was up 133.25 points (+0.71%) to 18,797.88
Hang Seng Index was down 5.12 points (-0.02%) to 24,262.18
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 17.22 points (-0.52%) to 3,269.39
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 91.28 points (+0.84%) to 10,990.81
NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 8.81 points (-0.12%) to 7,144.84
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 5.72 points (+0.05%) to 12,709.95
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