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

Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Tuesday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. The major averages have spent the morning bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest gains. The Dow is up 33.72 points or 0.1 percent at 30,993.72, the Nasdaq is up 27.88 points or 0.2 percent at 13,663.87 and the S&P 500 is up 2.26 points or 0.1 percent at 3,857.62.

The choppy trading on Wall Street may reflect uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets after the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 climbed to new record closing highs on Monday.

Optimism about additional stimulus under President Joe Biden has helped stocks higher in recent sessions, although recent reports have pointed to intensifying opposition from GOP lawmakers.

The Biden administration has signaled a willingness to negotiate over the president’s $1.9 trillion proposal, but it is worth noting that talks over the previous relief package dragged on for months.

The lackluster performance on the day also reflects a mixed reaction to earnings news from a number of big-name companies.

3M (MMM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) have moved notably higher after reporting quarterly results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, fellow Dow components American Express (AXP) and Verizon (VZ) have moved to the downside despite reporting better than expected fourth quarter earnings.

Shares of General Electric (GE) are moving sharply higher after the industrial conglomerate reported a surge in fourth quarter net profits amid better than expected revenues and cash flow.

Microsoft (MSFT), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Capital One (COF), and Starbucks (SBUX) are among the companies releasing their quarterly results after the close of trading.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Conference Board showing an unexpected improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of January.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index climbed to 89.3 in January from a downwardly revised 87.1 in December.

The increase surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 88.5 from the 88.6 originally reported for the previous month.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Airline stocks have shown a notable move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index climbing by 1.5 percent.

On the other hand, utilities stocks are giving back ground, with the Dow Jones Utility Average falling by 1 percent after ending the previous session at its best closing level in well over a month.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has surged up by 2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction after moving notably higher 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 1.043 percent.

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