(RTTNews) - After moving lower at the start of trading, stocks have moved back to the upside over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. Buying interest has remained subdued, however, leading to a relatively lackluster performance.
The major averages have climbed into positive territory and are currently posting modest gains. The Dow is up 23.04 points or 0.2 percent at 13,191.64, the Nasdaq is up 2.52 points or 0.1 percent at 3,018.38 and the S&P 500 is up 1.93 points or 0.1 percent at 1,403.28.
Profit taking contributed to the initial weakness on Wall Street, with traders cashing in on the recent strength in the markets, which lifted the major averages to three-month closing highs.
Disappointing comments from Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher also weighed on the markets, as he told Bloomberg that the Fed has done its job regarding providing the necessary economic stimulus and that it is now up to the private sector.
Fisher also said that Congress needs to address the fiscal policy uncertainty in order for the liquidity in the system to be put to work.
The remarks from Fisher were in stark contrast to comments by Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, who called for an "open-ended" quantitative easing program to boost economic growth during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.
However, stocks did not see much follow-through on the initial downward move amid continued optimism about further stimulus from Europe.
The subsequent turnaround by the markets is partly due to a rally by shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which have risen by 2.5 percent. The gain by HP comes after the computer and printer maker upwardly revised its third quarter earnings guidance.
Shares of Disney (DIS) have also moved notably higher after the entertainment giant reported better than expected third quarter earnings after the close of trading on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, McDonald's (MCD) remains under pressure after the fast food giant reported global comparable sales that were flat in July compared to expectations for an increase in excess of 2 percent.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable strength has emerged among steel stocks. The NYSE Arca Steel Index has advanced by 1.3 percent, reaching its best intraday level in a month.
AK Steel (AKS) has helped to lead the steel sector higher, surging up by 5.5 percent after CRT Capital raised its rating on the stock to Buy.
Gold stocks have also shown a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1 percent. The strength among gold stocks comes as the price of the precious metal has turned higher over the course of the session.
While strength is also visible among computer hardware and health insurance stocks, commercial real estate continue to see weakness on the day.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.9 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index edged up by 0.2 percent. However, Hong Kong's Hang Seng bucked the uptrend and closed just below the unchanged line.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned mixed over the course of the trading day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries continue to show lack of direction after coming under pressure in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.635 percent.
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