Stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Wednesday, extending the lackluster performance seen in the previous session. Despite the choppy trading, the S&P 500 has reached a new record intraday high.
Currently, the major averages are on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Dow is down 144.92 points or 0.4 percent at 33,840.01, the Nasdaq is up 24.36 points or 0.2 percent at 14,114.57 and the S&P 500 is up 9.39 points or 0.2 percent at 4,196.11.
Traders remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.
While the Fed is widely expected to leave its ultra-easy monetary policy unchanged, traders will be looking for any changes to the accompanying statement.
With the economy recovering strongly from the pandemic-induced recession and inflation accelerating, some analysts expect the Fed to begin hinting at tapering its asset purchases at upcoming meetings.
Traders are also digesting the latest earnings news from several big-name companies, including some megacap technology stocks.
Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) are moving sharply higher after the Google parent reported better than expected first quarter results and announced a $50 billion stock buyback.
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has also moved to the upside after reporting first quarter results that exceeded estimates and providing upbeat guidance.
On the other hand, shares of Microsoft (MSFT) are seeing notable weakness even though the software giant reported better than expected fiscal third quarter results.
Fellow Dow components Amgen (AMGN) and Boeing (BA) have also come under pressure, weighing on the blue chip index.
Amgen is down by 8.3 percent after reporting first quarter results that missed estimates, while Boeing is down by 2.9 percent after reporting a wider than expected first quarter loss.
Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day.
Energy stocks have shown a strong move to the upside, however, with an increase by the price of crude oil generating buying interest. Crude for June delivery is climbing $0.87 to $63.77 a barrel.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index are up by 2.2 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, software stocks have moved notably lower amid the negative reaction to Microsoft’s results, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 1.4 percent.
In overseas trading, most stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved modestly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction ahead of the Fed announcement. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.629 percent.