After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks have given back ground over the course of morning trading on Tuesday. The major averages pulled back well off their highs of the day and have recently been lingering near the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 29.69 points or 0.1 percent at 34,423.67, the Nasdaq is up 36.94 points or 0.3 percent at 13,698.11 and the S&P 500 is up 3.53 points or 0.1 percent at 4,200.58.
The early strength on Wall Street came amid a continued pullback by treasury yields, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note falling below 1.6 percent.
The drop in yields partly reflects easing worries about inflation and the possibility the Federal Reserve could begin tapering its asset purchases.
While yields remain lower on the day, traders may have been reluctant to continue buying stocks ahead of the release of a reading on inflation said to be preferred by the Fed on Friday.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial decrease in new home sales in the month of April.
The report said new home sales slumped by 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 863,000 in April after jumping by 7.4 percent to a significantly downwardly revised rate of 917,000 in March.
Economists had expected new home sales to tumble by 7.0 percent to a rate of 950,000 from the 1.021 million originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report released by the Conference Board showed consumer confidence in the U.S. held steady in the month of May.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index edged down to 117.2 in May after climbing to a revised 117.5 in April.
Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to pull back to 119.5 from the 121.7 originally reported for the previous month.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.
Airline stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 2.6 percent to its best intraday level in well over a month.
Unite Airlines (UAL) is posting a strong gain after forecasting a much smaller than previously expected decrease in revenue per available seat mile in the second quarter.
Significant strength also remains visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.
On the other hand, natural gas stocks have shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index down by 1.3 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index soared by 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is slightly below the unchanged line and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are extending the upward trend seen over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.9 basis points at 1.579 percent.
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