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U.S. Stocks Turning In Another Lackluster Performance Following Inflation Data

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks continue to experience choppy trading on Tuesday. The major averages have once again spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Nasdaq is up 59.40 points or 0.4 percent at 16,447.64, the S&P 500 is up 6.95 points or 0.1 percent at 5,228.37 and the Dow is up 41.54 points or 0.1 percent at 39,473.05.

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

Networking stocks have moved sharply higher on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 2.8 percent to its best intraday level in a month.

Significant strength is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent surge by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The index has also reached a one-month intraday high.

Computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable strength, with the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index jumping by 2.0 percent.

Brokerage, tobacco and telecom stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while oil producer stocks are moving to the downside amid a steep drop by 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 have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is 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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