U.S. stocks are down slightly in mid-afternoon trading as violent riots continue in Egypt, and in the wake of a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in which he stated that the nation will have to cut spending and raise taxes in order to sustain GDP growth.
Bernanke made his remarks in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq both are down 0.02 percent, and the S&P 500 is down 0.07 percent. The 10-year bond yield is up slightly, while gold is up 1.65 percent and oil is down slightly by 0.26 percent.
Merck & Co. (NYSE: MRK) is down 2.54% after it downgraded its profit forecast this morning.
Retail clothing stores are among the big winners so far today after an announcement from the Institute for Supply Management that its index of retail non-manufacturing businesses rose to 59.4 in January, up from 57.1 at the end of 2010.
AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (NYSE: ANN), which is up 4.4 percent, while Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ) is up 4.45 percent. Shares of Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) also are up 3.05 percent.