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U.S. Stocks Continue To Experience Choppy Trading

Stocks showed a lack of direction early in the session on Tuesday and continue to turn in a lackluster performance in afternoon trading. The major averages continue to bounce back and forth across the unchanged, extending the choppy trading seen on Monday.

Currently, the major averages are narrowly mixed. While the Dow is down 40.66 points or 0.1 percent at 39,390.85, the S&P 500 is up 1.32 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 5,222.74 and the Nasdaq is up 44.32 points or 0.3 percent at 16,432.56.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes following the release of a Labor Department report showing producer prices in the U.S. increased by more than expected in the month of April.

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The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.5 percent in April after a revised 0.1 percent dip in March.

Economists had expected producer prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said the annual rate of producer price growth accelerated to 2.2 percent in April from a downwardly revised 1.8 percent in March.

The year-over-year producer price growth was expected to inch up to 2.2 percent from the 2.1 percent originally reported for the previous month.

While the report initially generated renewed uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates, some economists pointed to the downward revisions to the March data as a positive sign.

“In effect, with the revision, the PPI rise was as expected. Proof of that was in the 2.2%, as-expected rise in the year-on-year PPI,” said FHN Financial Chief Economist Chris Low. “Still, it is not all benign, as there is brewing pressure in the Core PPI.”

Traders also kept an eye on remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the annual general meeting of the Foreign Bankers’ Association.

Powell said the central bank needs to “be patient and let restrictive policy do its work,” noting a lack of further progress on inflation during the first quarter.

The Fed chief also said his confidence inflation will slow towards the 2 percent target is “not as high as it was” but reiterated he does not expect the next move to be a rate hike.

Sector News

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, networking stocks continue to see substantial strength in afternoon trading.

Reflecting the strength in the sector, the NYSE Arca Networking Index has surged by 2.4 percent to its best intraday level in a month.

Considerable strength also visible among computer hardware stocks, with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index jumping by 1.9 percent.

Airline stocks also continue to turn in a strong performance, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 1.6 percent, while oil producer stocks have moved lower along with the price of crude oil.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.5 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets also ended the day narrowly mixed. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both crept up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher over the course of the session after seeing initial weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.2 basis points at 4.459 percent.

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