U.S. Stocks Little Changed Following Yesterday’s Sell-Off

Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Tuesday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line following the steep drop seen in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are little changed on the day. The Dow is down 0.08 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 33,849.38, while the Nasdaq is up 5.26 points or 0.1 percent at 11,054.75 and the S&P 500 is up 3.53 points or 0.1 percent at 3,967.47.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes amid lingering uncertainty about the situation in China following widespread protests over the country’s Covid restrictions.

Mainland China reported the first decrease in new Covid infections in more than a week on Monday, generating some positive sentiment.

Chinese health officials also released a plan to boost vaccinations for elderly people and said they are “closely watching” the virus as it evolves and mutates.

The officials defended China’s zero-Covid policy at a press briefing on Tuesday but said lockdowns would be lifted “as quickly as possible.”

However, traders have seen their hopes for an easing of Covid restrictions in China dashed by recent events, leading to some hesitation.

Traders may also be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of some key economic data in the coming days, including the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

The Conference Board released a report this morning showing a modest decrease in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of November.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dipped to 100.2 in November from a revised 102.2 in October. Economists had expected the index to slip to 100.0 from the 102.5 originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the lackluster performance by the broader markets, steel stocks have moved sharply higher on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 3.4 percent.

Substantial strength has also emerged among gold stocks, as reflected by the 3.1 percent surge by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

Gold stocks are rebounding along with the price of the precious metal, with gold for February delivery climbing $15.60 to $1,770.90 an ounce.

Tobacco, energy and commercial real estate stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged by 2.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared by 5.2 percent, although Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index bucked the uptrend and fell by 0.5 percent.

Most European stocks have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels but continue to see modest weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.3 basis points at 3.726 percent.

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