After moving sharply lower earlier in the session, stocks have seen some volatility over the course of morning trading on Tuesday. Nonetheless, the major averages have all remained stuck in negative territory.

The initial weakness came as traders reacted to a report from the Commerce Department showing that March retail sales unexpectedly fell by 1.1 percent. Economists had been expecting retail sales to increase by 0.3 percent.

Selling pressure waned not long after the open, however, and the major averages moved well off their worst levels of the day in the mid-morning trading. With the recovery attempt, the Dow climbed back above the 8,000 level.

Nonetheless, the major averages have moved back to the downside since then, reflecting continued weakness among real estate, tobacco, banking and airline stocks. On the other hand, some healthcare and trucking stocks are posting strong gains.

The major averages are currently posting notable losses, although they remain off their worst levels of the day. The Dow is currently down 81.48 at 7,976.33, the Nasdaq is down 18.05 at 1,635.26 and the S&P 500 is down 9.14 at 849.59.

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