RTTNews - Stocks remain stuck in negative territory in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, unable to return to positive territory even after seeing some upside after a successful ten-year note auction. The major averages are all in the red by notably margins as the low volume summer trading season drags on.

Further moderating interest rate concerns in the broader markets were results of the Treasury Department's $19.0 billion offering of ten-year notes. The sale saw a high-yield of 3.365 percent while attracting very strong demand, with the bid-to-cover ratio coming in at 3.28, the highest in eight years. The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

Dow component Alcoa (AA) is set to kick off earnings season when it reports it second quarter results after the close of trading today. The aluminum producer is expected to incur a loss in contrast to a year-ago profit.

After a failed recovery on the heels of the ten-year note auction, the major averages have moved back to the downside and are lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is currently down 61.67 at 8,101.93, the Nasdaq is down 13.87 at 1,732.30 and the S&P 500 is down 10.44 at 870.59.

Dow Components

Most of the Dow components have moved lower over the course of the trading day, helping to drag the blue chip index firmly into negative territory.

General Electric (GE) is retreating by a notable margin in mid-afternoon trading, falling by 4.3 percent. With the decline, the stock fell to its worst intraday price in three months earlier in the session.

Shares of Bank of America (BAC) are also under pressure, dropping by 5.7 percent on the day. The day's pullback has dragged the stock to its lowest level in one month's time.

Communications giants Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) are also seeing considerable weakness, retreating by 2.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Cisco (CSCO) is also ceding some ground, posting a loss of 1.9 percent. The stocks have all moved to their lowest intraday prices in over a month.

While Alcoa (AA) and Intel (INTC) are also pulling back, strength has emerged in shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Merck (MRK), which are up 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. At its high for the session, Merck was at a four-month intraday high.

Sector News

Metal stocks continue to turn in some of the day's worst performances, extending their recent losing streak. Steel stocks are dragging the sector lower, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index falling by 3.6 percent on the day.

The steel index is being pulled lower by shares of Olympic Steel (ZEUS), which are slipping by 9.9 percent, seeing their sixth straight day of declines. The move has also dragged the stock down to its worst intraday level in a month.

Gold stocks are also declining by steep margins, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index dropping by 5.8 percent. The retreat by gold stocks comes amid a sharp drop by the price of the precious metal, with gold for August delivery closing down $19.80 at $909.30 an ounce.

Banking and health insurance stocks are also moving to the downside, with the Kbw Bank Index and the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index dropping by 4.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. While the healthcare index is offsetting some of yesterday's strong gains, the banking index is continuing its downfall, moving to its worst intraday level in two months.

While commercial real estate, brokerage, networking, telecommunications and housing stocks are also down, pharmaceutical stocks are still showing strong gains on the day. The NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index is up by 1.2 percent on the day, although it remains stuck in a recent trading range.

In Focus: Earnings News, Corporate Data

On the earnings front, restaurant operator Ruby Tuesday (RT) said Tuesday after the markets closed that its fourth quarter profit rose 3.7 percent from last year, as lower operating costs and expenses helped offset a 7.1 percent decline in revenue.

Today, Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) reported adjusted second quarter net income of $172 million or $0.78 per share, compared to $174 million or $0.78 per share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected the firm to report earnings of $0.73 per share for the quarter.

In other news, internet search provider Google (GOOG) revealed that it is developing the Google Chrome Operating System in a bid to challenge the Windows Operating System of Microsoft (MSFT).

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Wednesday's session lower. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed down by 2.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped by 0.8 percent on the day.

The major European markets also ended the day in the red. The French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, while the German DAX Index closed down by 0.6 percent.

In the bond markets, treasuries are seeing strong gains following the results of the day's ten-year note auction. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.314 percent, a loss of 14.6 basis points on the day.

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