RTTNews - Stocks remain stuck in the red in early afternoon trading on Tuesday, moving lower as traders react to the day's disappointing data on consumer confidence. The major averages are all in negative territory by notable margins, erasing all of yesterday's gains.

The Conference Board released a report showing an unexpected deterioration in consumer confidence in the month of June, reflecting less favorable assessments of both current economic conditions and the near-term outlook.

While a separate report released by the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago on Tuesday showed a continued contraction in Chicago-area manufacturing activity in June, the pace of contraction slowed by even more than economists had been expecting.

Other data on the day came with the S&P Case-Shiller Index, which indicated that home prices continued to decline sharply in April, although the slide moderated a bit from the previous month.

In an interview with RTT News, John Petrides, growth portfolio manager at Advisors Capital Management, attributed the market's pullback to conflicting macro news, though he advised investors to not read too much into the sell-off.

Petrides said, It's the last trading day of the quarter so you may have some people out there profit taking and window dressing going into the second half of the year.

The major indices have been largely rangebound in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is currently down 113.14 at 8,416.24, the Nasdaq is down 13.93 at 1,830.13 and the S&P 500 is down 11.29 at 915.94.

Sector News

Significant weakness remains visible among resource stocks, with gold, steel, and oil service stocks all posting notable losses. Subsequently, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index and the NYSE Arca Steel Index are down by 3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Further, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is also falling, sliding by 1.6 percent on the session.

Shares of Sunoco (SUN) are helping to lead the way lower in the oil sector, sliding by 2 percent after reaching their worst intra-day price in well over eight months earlier in the day. The move comes as the stock was downgraded by Goldman Sachs to Sell from Neutral, with the broker citing a poor outlook for refineries.

The pullback by gold and oil stocks has also come as their related commodities prices have fallen on the NYMEX. Gold futures have plummeted by $13.60 to $927.10 an ounce, while oil futures have dipped by $2.16 to $69.33 a barrel.

Other stocks extending their losses on the day include airline, healthcare provider, and brokerage stocks. The NYSE Arca Airline Index and the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Provider Index are down by 2.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Stocks In The News

Shares of Associated Banc-Corp. (ASBC) are sliding following the announcement that the company may incur a loss for the second quarter based on expectations of higher-than-expected provision for loan losses. Shares of the bank holding company are down by 8.7 percent, falling to their worst intra-day level in over three months.

Schnitzer Steel Industries (SCHN) is falling by a notable margin after the firm reported a third quarter net loss of $0.05 per share after reporting a profit of $2.14 per share in the year-ago quarter. The results also fell well short of Wall Street analyst expectations for earnings of $0.16 per share. The stock is down by 10.1 percent in early afternoon trading, after setting a three-month intraday low earlier in the session.

On the other hand, tax preparer H&R Block (HRB) is moving higher after the company reported fourth quarter net income of $2.09 per share, compared to $1.66 per share in the year-ago quarter. The results edged out analyst expectations of $2.05 per share.

Further, H&R Block said it expects fiscal 2010 earnings in the range of $1.60 to $1.80 per share. Analysts currently expect the company to earn $1.66 per share for the year. The stock is up by 9.7 percent, rising to its best intraday price in well over two months.

In Focus: Economic Data, Corporate News

As mentioned above, the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 49.3 in June from a revised 54.8 in May. The decrease surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge up to 55.3 from the 54.9 originally reported for the previous month.

The ISM - Chicago said its index of activity in the manufacturing sector jumped to 39.9 in June from 34.9 in May, although a reading below 50 indicates a continued contraction. Economists had been expecting the index to increase to a reading of 39.0.

Earlier, the S&P Case-Shiller Index, a closely watched measure of home prices, showed a 0.6 percent decline from March to April, according to a survey of prices in 20 U.S. cities. This represented a drop of 18.1 percent compared to the same period last year.

On the corporate front, chipmaker Broadcom (BRCM) announced that it raised its tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Emulex (ELX) to $11.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of about $912 million. Emulex said that its Board of Directors would review the terms of the revised offer.

In earnings news, private education firm Apollo Group (APOL) reported third quarter net income of $1.26 per share, compared to $0.85 per share in the prior year quarter. The earnings beat Wall Street analyst forecasts of $1.12 per share.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Tuesday's session on a mixed note. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up by 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets closed firmly on the downside, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index finishing down by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also fell, showing a decrease of 1 percent.

In the bond markets, treasuries continue to linger in negative territory, although they have moved off of their worst levels of the day. Subsequently the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.510 percent, seeing a climb of 1.8 basis points on the day.

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