RTTNews - Stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in early afternoon trading on Tuesday after trader reaction to the latest batch of economic was largely muted by another low volume outing. The major averages have been unable to sustain any major moves.
Equities gave up early gains after a report from the National Association of Realtors revealed that existing home sales for May moved higher but fell short of economist expectations.
Later today, traders may look to President Barack Obama's press conference, scheduled to take place at 12:30 p.m. ET, when he is expected to discuss the administration's latest push for healthcare reform and Iran's election quandary.
In addition, market focus may turn to the results of the Treasury Department's $40.0 billion two-year note auction set to be revealed at 1 p.m. ET.
Bond auctions have been closely watched recently, as trader concern regarding interest rates remains evident ahead of the Federal Reserve's announcement on the subject of near-term monetary policy.
The major indices are currently all in negative territory, although the S&P 500 is posting a relatively modest loss. The Dow is currently down 23.43 at 8,315.58, the Nasdaq is down 4.11 at 1,762.08 and the S&P 500 is down 0.29 at 892.75.
The major sectors are roughly split, contributing to the lackluster performance being shown by the major averages.
Airline stocks are turning in some of the day's worst performances, as reflected by the 1.4 percent decline being shown by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The day's pullback has dragged the index to its worst intra-day level in nearly three months.
Additional weakness is apparent among defense and tobacco stocks, with the Philadelphia Defense Sector Index and the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index dropping by 2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The retreat has taken the indices to their worst intraday levels in roughly six weeks.
While healthcare provider, railroad and utility stocks are also sliding by notable margins, gold and steel stocks are offsetting some of yesterday's heavy losses. Specifically, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index and the NYSE Arca Steel Index are up by 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Banking, housing, telecommunication, and commercial real estate stocks are also regaining some ground after falling sharply in the previous session.
Stocks In The News
Cytec Industries (CYT) is declining in afternoon trading after the firm cuts its full year earnings outlook, saying it now expects to earn $0.60 - $0.90 per share. Shares of the chemical giant are down by 10.7 percent after dropping to a nine-week intra-day low earlier in the session.
Halozyme Therapeutics (HALO) is also slipping after the company completed a public offering of 6.15 million shares of its common stock. The shares were offered at a discount of 11.6 percent relative to the average closing share price during five trading days preceding the offering. The stock is currently down by 15.7 percent, setting a five-week intraday low earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Alvarion (ALVR) is on the upside after completing a deal with Aria SpA, which will use its WiMax network across Italy. Shares of Israel-based Alvarion are up by 9.6 percent in afternoon trading, poised to finish at their best level in well over eight months.
In Focus: Existing Home Sales, Corporate News & Events
A report from the National Association of Realtors showed that existing home sales rose 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.77 million units in May from a revised 4.66 million units in April. Economists had expected sales to rise 3 percent to 4.82 million units from the 4.68 million units originally reported for the previous month.
Despite the downward revision to April sales, the annual rate of existing home sales for the month was still up 2.4 percent compared to March. Subsequently, existing home sales showed their first back-to-back monthly gains since September 2005.
Meanwhile, Boeing (BA) announced that first flight of the 787 Dreamliner would be postponed due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft. The stock is down by 8.6 percent in afternoon dealing.
Shares of Rambus (RMBS) are also moving lower in afternoon trading after the memory chip maker lowered its second quarter revenue guidance, citing the impact of the spiraling economy and its effect on the sales of semiconductors and consumer electronic systems.
In other news, Anglo American rejected Swiss mining company Xstrata's proposal for a $68 billion merger of equals on the grounds that the merger was unattractive to its shareholders.
Meanwhile, enterprise software giant Oracle (ORCL), specialty chemical producer H.B Fuller (FUL) and electronic manufacturing services provider Jabil Circuit (JBL) are all scheduled to report their quarterly earnings results after the markets close for the day.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Tuesday's session showing steep losses. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed down 2.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets finished the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slipped by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, while the German DAX eked out a 0.3 percent gain.
In the bond markets, treasuries remain in positive territory but have moved off of their best levels of the day in recent dealing. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.648 percent, a drop of 4.5 basis points on the day.
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