U.S. Stocks Showing A Lack Of Direction In Morning Trading

Stocks are turning in a lackluster performance in morning trading on Tuesday after ending the previous session mostly lower. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is up 93.77 points or 0.3 percent at 35,184.90, the Nasdaq is down 28.26 points or 0.2 percent at 13,987.41 and the S&P 500 is down 5.30 points or 0.1 percent at 4,478.57.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s report on consumer price inflation in the month of January.

The report, which is due to be released before the start of trading on Thursday, could impact the outlook for how aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Treasury yields are seeing further upside ahead of the release of the report, with the yield on the benchmark ten-year note reaching its highest level in over two years.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit widened modestly in the month of December.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $80.7 billion in December from a revised $79.3 billion in November.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to expand to $83.0 billion from the $80.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider deficit came as the value of imports surged 1.6 percent to $308.9 billion, while the value of exports jumped 1.5 percent to $228.1 billion.

While many of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, airline stocks are extending the rally seen in the previous session, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 2.2 percent.

Significant strength is also visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent jump by the KBW Bank Index.

Meanwhile, energy stocks are moving sharply lower along with the price of crude oil. Crude for March delivery is tumbling $1.90 to $89.42 a barrel, extending the pullback seen on Monday.

Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is down by 1.8 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.7 percent.

Biotechnology stocks have also shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index down by 1.4 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are little changed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have come under pressure following the modest rebound seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 5.5 basis points at 1.971 percent.

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