After failing to sustain an early downward move, stocks have turned higher over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have bounced well off their worst levels of the day and into positive territory.

The turnaround by the markets was partly due to the release of some better than expected economic data, including a report from the National Association of Realtors showing an unexpected increase in pending home sales in February.

Banking stocks have helped to lead the way higher, adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session. Significant strength has also emerged in the steel, housing, and wireless sectors.

On the other hand, some biotechnology stocks continue to post steep losses, with Celgene (CELG) leading the sector lower after forecasting first quarter earnings below analyst estimates. Healthcare provider and drug stocks also remain under pressure.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering in positive territory. The Dow is currently up 42.29 at 7,651.21, the Nasdaq is up 4.93 at 1,533.52 and the S&P 500 is up 2.63 at 800.50.

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