After ending the previous session modestly higher, stocks have shown a lack of direction over the course of morning trading on Tuesday. The Dow has been bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line after ending the previous session at its best closing level in three months.
Currently, the major averages are turning in a mixed performance. While the Dow is down 21.06 points or 0.1 percent at 25,301.25, the Nasdaq is up 22.09 points or 0.3 percent at 7,682.02 and the S&P 500 is up 2.55 points or 0.1 percent at 2,784.55.
The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders are looking ahead to monetary policy announcements by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, while the ECB has indicated it will discuss ending its bond purchasing program at its meeting on Thursday.
Ahead of the Fed meeting, the Labor Department released a report showing another modest increase in consumer prices in the month of May.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.2 percent in May, matching the increase seen in April as well as economist estimates.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still increased by 0.2 percent in May after inching up by 0.1 percent in April. The core price growth also matched expectations.
The annual rate of consumer price growth accelerated to 2.8 percent in May from 2.5 percent in April, reaching its highest level since February of 2012.
Core consumer price growth also edged up to a fifteen-year high of 2.2 percent in May from 2.1 percent in the previous month.
Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said the consumer price growth will keep the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates on Wednesday.
"We expect underlying inflation to trend gradually higher from here, which will prompt the Fed to hike rates twice in the second half of the year," Pearce said.
Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Following the meeting, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement pledging to work together to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."
The statement said Kim reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while Trump committed to provide security guarantees to North Korea.
The U.S. and North Korea also committed to hold follow-on negotiations led by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a relevant high-level North Korean official.
Reflecting the lackluster performance being turned in by the broader , most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in morning trading.
Utilities stocks are seeing considerable strength, however, with the Dow Jones Utilities Average climbing by 1.1 percent. The average is bouncing off its lowest closing level in four months.
Natural gas and telecom stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while weakness is visible among brokerage stocks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index crept up by 0.1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index is just below the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing initial weakness. 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 2.965 percent.
by P2PNews Staff Writer