Stocks continue to show a lack of direction in mid-day trading on Tuesday, extending the lackluster performance seen in the previous session. The choppy trading comes as traders seem reluctant to make any significant moves.
The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Nasdaq posting a modest loss. While the Nasdaq is down 4.43 points or 0.1 percent at 3,187.57, the Dow is up 31.38 points or 0.2 percent at 14,002.62 and the S&P 500 is up 1.44 points or 0.1 percent at 1,518.45.
Amid a lack of major U.S. economic news, traders seem to be staying on the sidelines ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address later this evening.
Obama is expected to lay out his vision for the U.S. economy during the address to a joint session of Congress, which is due to begin at 9 pm ET.
"I'm going to be talking about making sure that we're focused on job creation here in the United States of America," USA Today quoted Obama as telling Democratic lawmakers during a retreat last week.
Weeks after an inauguration speech that was short on policy details, Obama will attempt to appease voters who say the nation's most pressing issue is a tepid recovery marked by stubbornly high unemployment.
Traders are likely to pay particularly close attention to the president's remarks regarding the automatic government spending cuts looming at the end of the month.
Among individual stocks, Coca-Cola (KO) has moved to the downside after the beverage giant reported better than expected adjusted fourth quarter earnings but on revenues that came in below analyst estimates. Coca-Cola is currently down by 3 percent.
Shares of Goodyear (GT) have also come under pressure after the tire maker reported fourth quarter earnings that came in above analyst estimates but lowered its 2013 forecast due to weakness in Europe.
On the other hand, Avon (AVP) has moved sharply higher after the direct seller of beauty products reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings that came in well above analyst estimates.
What are today's top 50 stocks? This free list will share the big market movers on a daily basis to help you find trading opportunities.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, substantial strength has emerged among housing stocks. Reflecting the strength in the housing sector, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index has surged up by 3.4 percent.
Masco (MAS) has helped to lead the housing sector higher, with the home improvement and building products maker jumping by 14.5 percent after unexpectedly reporting an adjusted fourth quarter profit.
Strength has also emerged among banking stocks, as reflected by the 1 percent gain being posted by the Dow Jones Banks Index. With the gain, the index has risen to a nearly two-year high.
On the other hand, some telecom stocks have come under pressure, dragging the NYSE Arca Telecom Index down by 1.2 percent. Level 3 Communications (LVLT) is posting a particularly steep loss after reporting its fourth quarter results.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday, although several markets remained closed for Lunar New Year holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.9 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both jumped by 1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels of the day but continue to see moderate weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.7 basis points at 1.973 percent.(RTTNews) -