U.S. Stocks Little Changed As Fed Announcement Looms

Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Monday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line. The choppy trading comes following the strong upward move seen last week.

Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the S&P 500 is down 3.54 points or 0.1 percent at 3,939.80, the Dow is up 26.57 points or 0.1 percent at 32,805.21 and the Nasdaq is up 32.63 points or 0.2 percent at 13,352.49.

Traders seem reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but traders will be paying close attention to any changes to the accompanying statement.

Some traders are hoping the Fed will address the recent spike in bond yields, which has led to considerable volatility in Wall Street in recent sessions.

U.S. economic reports on retail sales, industrial production, and housing starts may also attract attention in the coming days.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York this morning showed an acceleration in the pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity in the month of March.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to 17.4 in March from 12.1 in February, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to rise to 14.5

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said firms remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months, anticipating significant increases in employment.

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 substantial move to the upside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 4.2 percent to its best intraday level in almost three years.

Gold, semiconductor and biotechnology stocks are also seeing notable strength, while banking, oil service and steel stocks have moved to the downside.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is just above the unchanged line and the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving sharply lower last Friday. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.8 basis points at 1.607 percent.

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