After showing a notable decline earlier in the trading session on Monday, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the afternoon. The major averages have all moved well off their worst levels of the day.
The recovery attempt is partly due to reports that the Obama administration plans to ease certain restrictions on transactions with Cuba, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that U.S. telecom companies will be allowed to apply for licenses in the island nation.
Some buying interest was also generated by an announcement that President Barack Obama will deliver a major speech on the economy at Georgetown University on Tuesday.
The White House said that the president would discuss how each step his administration has taken to confront this economic crisis fits within his broader vision of how we move this economy from recession to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.
Earlier in the day, President Obama marked the 2,000th transportation project to be approved under the $787 billion economic relief package.
The government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget, Obama announced, praising the efforts of transportation secretary Ray LaHood and Vice President Joe Biden.
Just 41 days ago we announced funding for the first transportation project under ARRA and today we're approving the 2,000th project, Obama said. I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language - projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.
In other news, the Treasury Department is directing General Motors Corp. (GM) to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1 deadline, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.
The report specified that one plan under consideration would create a new company that would buy the good assets of the company almost immediately after the carmaker files for bankruptcy.
The weakness seen early in the day came as traders cashed in some of the market's recent gains amid concerns about the outlook for the impending earnings season.
Boeing (BA) contributed to the anxiety about the outlook for earnings, with the aerospace giant saying that its first quarter earnings would be negatively impacted by decisions to reduce airplane production as well as unfavorable price escalation.
In recent trading, the S&P 500 briefly climbed above the unchanged line, but it has slipped back into negative territory since then. The S&P 500 is currently down 0.43 at 856.13, while the Dow is down 38.79 at 8,044.59 and the Nasdaq is down 7.07 at 1,645.47.
A majority of the Dow components remain in negative territory in mid-afternoon trading, helping to keep the blue chip index stuck below the unchanged line.
Boeing is turning in one of the Dow's worst performances, with the aerospace giant down 4.9 percent following the first quarter earnings warning. With the decline, shares of Boeing are pulling back well off of the nearly two-month closing high set on Thursday.
General Motors is also posting a significant loss on the day, falling 16.7 percent amid concerns about the increased potential for a bankruptcy filing.
Significant losses by Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) are also helping to keep the Dow in negative territory, with a steep drop by the price of oil contributing to the losses by the energy giants. Shares of Exxon Mobil are down 2.4 percent, while shares of Chevron are down 2.3 percent.
Disney (DIS), IBM (IBM), and Procter & Gamble (PG) are among the other Dow components posting notable losses.
At the other end of the spectrum, shares of Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) have moved sharply higher amid strength in the banking sector, contributing to the recovery attempt by the Dow. Citigroup is currently up 17.1 percent, while Bank of America is up 14.7 percent.
Strong gains by General Electric (GE), American Express (AXP), and Alcoa (AA) have also helped to lift the Dow well off its worst level of the day.
Despite the recovery attempt by the broader markets, significant weakness remains visible among trucking stocks. The Dow Jones Trucking Index is currently down 2.1 percent, pulling back off the two-month closing high set on Thursday.
Notable weakness also remains visible in the semiconductor, computer hardware, and utilities sectors. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is down 2.1 percent, while the Amex Computer Hardware Index and the Dow Jones Utilities Average are down 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
As mentioned above, however, banking stocks have shown a notable upward move over the course of the session, driving the Kbw Bank Index up 6.9 percent. With the gain, the index has risen to its best intraday level in almost three months.
The recovery attempt by the broader markets also reflects significant strength that has emerged in the brokerage, steel, gold, and health insurance sectors.
Overseas, while several of the major markets in the Asia-Pacific region remained closed for Easter Monday, most of the markets in the region that were open closed higher. The major European markets were all closed for the Easter Monday holiday.
In the bond market, treasuries remain near their highs of the day, driving the yield on the benchmark 10-year note down 8.1 basis points to 2.845 percent.