RTTNews - With some traders staying on the sidelines ahead of the release of the closely watched employment data on Friday, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Thursday.

While the Labor Department's monthly employment report is expected to show another notable decline in jobs in May, there is some uncertainty about the extent of the decline.

Nonetheless, banking stocks are seeing considerable strength in morning trading, driving the Kbw Bank Index up 3.2 percent. Fifth Third (FITB) is helping to lead the sector higher after completing a $1 billion common stock offering.

Significant strength has also emerged among oil service stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of oil. While real estate, gold, and railroad stocks are also showing strong upward moves, retail and airline stocks are posting notable losses.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, holding onto moderate gains. The Dow is currently up 28.98 at 8,704.26, the Nasdaq is up 8.17 at 1,834.09 and the S&P 500 is up 5.13 at 936.89.

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