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Stock Market Update for 3/27/2012

March 27, 2012

stock market updateStocks Turning In Lackluster Performance In Early Trading

Stocks are showing a lack of direction in early trading on Tuesday after showing a strong move to the upside in the previous session. The major averages are lingering near the unchanged line following yesterday’s standout gains.

The major averages are currently turning in a mixed performance, with the Dow posting a modest loss. While the Dow is down 7.98 points or 0.1 percent at 13,233.65, the Nasdaq is up 4.78 points or 0.2 percent at 3,127.35 and the S&P 500 is up 0.79 points or 0.1 percent at 1,417.30.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders express some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following Monday’s rally.

While stocks saw initial strength as traders continued to react positively to yesterday’s comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, a disappointing report on U.S. consumer confidence helped to offset the buying interest.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 70.2 in March from an upwardly revised 71.6 in February. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 70.9 from the 70.8 originally reported for the previous month.

Lynn Franco, Director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said, “Consumer Confidence pulled back slightly in March, after rising sharply in February.”

“The moderate decline was due solely to a less favorable short-term outlook, while consumers’ assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, continued to improve,” she added.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although housing stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in early trading, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 2.2 percent.

The strength in the sector comes despite the release of a report showing a continued drop in U.S. home prices in the month of January.

The report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index fell by an annual rate of 3.8 percent in January compared to a 4.1 percent year-over-year drop in December. The annual drop matched the expectations of economists.

Notable strength is also visible among networking stocks, while steel and chemical stocks are also moving to the upside. On the other hand, energy stocks are seeing some early weakness.

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