Major Averages Continue To Turn In Mixed Performance In Afternoon Trading

After moving in starkly opposite directions early in the session, the major U.S. stock indexes continue to turn in a mixed performance in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

While the S&P 500 has joined the Nasdaq in the red, the Dow has pulled back off its best levels but remains in positive territory.

Currently, the Dow is up 172.08 points or 0.5 percent at 36,757.14 after reaching a new record intraday high. The S&P 500 also reached a record high in early trading but is currently down 15.84 points or 0.3 percent at 4,780.72.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has shown a more significant move to the downside, plunging 290.07 points or 1.8 percent at 15,542.73.

The sharp pullback by Nasdaq partly reflects substantial weakness among software and biotechnology stocks.

Reflecting the weakness in the sectors, the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index and the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index are down by 3.3 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, energy stocks are seeing considerable strength amid a continued increase by the price of crude oil. Crude for February is currently jumping $1.13 to $77.21 a barrel.

Oil service stocks are posting particularly strong gains on the day, resulting in a 4.5 percent spike by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

Significant strength also remains visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 3.5 percent jump by the KBW Bank Index.

Banking stocks are benefiting from a continued increase by Treasury yields, with notable gains by financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) contributing to the upward move by the Dow.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shot up by 1.8 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index surged by 2 percent.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the steep drop seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.6 basis points at 1.674 percent.

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