RTTNews - Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Friday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line after failing to sustain an initial upward move. The choppy trading comes as traders digest some mixed economic news.

Despite the lackluster performance being turned in by the broader markets, gold stocks are posting substantial gains. With gold for August delivery rising $16.50 to $979.70 an ounce, the Amex Gold Bugs Index is up 3.2 percent.

Other resource stocks are also moving higher along commodities prices, with steel, oil, and oil service stocks posting notable gains. Some strength is also visible among transportation, housing, and healthcare stocks.

Meanwhile, defense stocks are under pressure in late morning trading, dragging the Philadelphia Defense Sector Index down 1.4 percent. Some semiconductor and banking stocks are also posting notable losses.

The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the S&P 500 clinging to a modest gain. While the S&P 500 is up 1.48 at 908.31, the Dow is down 10.35 at 8,393.45 and the Nasdaq is down 5.55 at 1,746.24.

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