RTTNews - After moving sharply lower earlier in the session, stocks are seeing continued weakness in late morning trading on Friday. The major averages remain stuck firmly in negative territory, nearly offsetting the gains posted in the two previous sessions.

The weakness in the markets comes as traders react to a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan showing an unexpected deterioration in consumer sentiment in August. The consumer sentiment index fell to a preliminary reading of 63.2 in August from a reading of 66.0 in July.

Substantial weakness has emerged in a variety of sectors, with the disappointing data generating broad based selling pressure. Electronic storage stocks are posting particularly steep losses, resulting in a 3.5 percent loss by the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index.

Housing, chemical, and airline stocks are also posting notable losses in late morning trading. With the price of oil falling more than $2 a barrel, oil service stocks are also under pressure.

The major averages have remained more or less rangebound in recent trading, just off their lows for the session. The Dow is currently down 140.65 at 9,257.54, the Nasdaq is down 33.08 at 1,976.27 and the S&P 500 is down 14.92 at 997.81.

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