Major Averages Continue To Turn In Mixed Performance

The major U.S. stock indexes moved in opposite directions early on Wednesday and continue to turn in a mixed performance in mid-day trading. While the Nasdaq has held on to a modest gain, the Dow remains stuck in negative territory.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 61.28 points or 0.4 percent at 14,527.20, but the Dow is down 115.17 points or 0.3 percent at 34,263.17. The S&P 500 has bounced back and forth across the unchanged and is currently down 0.70 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 4,349.95.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as trader look ahead to this afternoon’s release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy meeting.

The minutes of the Fed’s September meeting may shed additional light on the central bank’s plans to scale back its asset purchases.

Traders are also digesting a report from the Labor Department showing consumer prices in the U.S. increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August. Economists had been expecting another 0.3 percent increase.

Excluding higher prices for food and energy, core consumer prices edged up by 0.2 percent in September after inching up by 0.1 percent in August. The uptick in core prices matched economist estimates.

The report also showed the annual rate of growth in consumer prices accelerated to 5.4 percent in September from 5.3 percent in August, while the annual rate of growth in core prices was unchanged at 4.0 percent.

On the earnings front, shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL) have moved sharply lower after the airline beat third quarter estimates but warned of a fourth quarter loss due to higher fuel costs.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has also moved to the downside even though the financial giant reported third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, asset management firm Blackrock (BLK) is posting a strong gain after reporting better than expected third quarter earnings and revenues.

Sector News

Reflecting another lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day.

Gold stocks continue to see substantial strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surging up by 3.4 percent to its best intraday level in a month.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery spiking $36.10 to $1,795.40 an ounce.

Significant strength also remains visible among tobacco stocks, as reflected by the 2.6 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index.

On the other hand, the steep drop by Delta continues to weigh on the airline sector, resulting in a 2.7 percent nosedive by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their best levels but remain positive. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.6 basis points at 1.554 percent.

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