Major Averages Posting Modest Losses In Mid-Day Trading

After showing a lack of direction early in the session, stocks continue to turn in a lackluster performance in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The major averages have spent most of the session lingering near the unchanged line.

Currently, the major averages are posting modest losses. The Dow is down 24.46 points or 0.1 percent at 27,046.96, the Nasdaq is down 16.02 points or 0.2 percent at 8,260.83 and the S&P 500 is down 3.56 points or 0.1 percent at 3,033.33.

Traders are sticking to the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates by another quarter point, although traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.

The central bank is due to announce its latest monetary policy decision at 2 pm ET, followed by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's post-meeting press conference at 2:30 pm ET.

The major averages fell to their lows of the session following news that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has canceled next month's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit amid a wave of protests in the country.

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were due to meet at the summit to sign phase one of a U.S.-China trade deal.

As in the previous session, however, traders quickly shrugged off the disappointing news amid eternal optimism a trade deal will eventually be reached.

Meanwhile, the markets have also not shown much reaction to the release of some upbeat U.S. economic data.

The Commerce Department released a report before the start of trading showing U.S. economic growth slowed much less than expected in the third quarter.

The report said real gross domestic product increased by 1.9 percent in the third quarter after climbing by 2.0 percent in the second quarter. Economists had expected GDP growth to slow to 1.7 percent.

"The 1.9% annualized gain in third-quarter GDP, down only marginally from the 2.0% gain in the second, was a little stronger than we had expected," said Andrew Hunter, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, "But it still pushed the economy's annual growth rate down to a near three-year low of 2.0% and should be enough to convince Fed officials to deliver another 25bp interest rate cut later today."

Payroll processor ADP released a separate report showing U.S. private sector employment increased by slightly more than anticipated in the month of October.

ADP said private sector employment climbed by 125,000 jobs in October compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 120,000 jobs.

However, the report also showed private sector job growth in September was downwardly revised to 93,000 from the previously reported addition of 135,000 jobs.

"Job growth has throttled way back over the past year," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics. "If hiring weakens any further, unemployment will begin to rise."

Sector News

Oil service stocks have moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 4.2 percent. The index is pulling back after ending the previous session at its best closing level in over a month.

The sell-off by oil service comes as the price of crude oil for December delivery is sliding $0.94 to $54.60 a barrel following the release of a report showing a much bigger than expected weekly jump in crude oil inventories.

Substantial weakness also remains visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 2.7 percent slump by the Dow Jones Transportation Average. The average continues to give back ground after reaching a nearly six-month intraday high on Monday.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide (CHRW) is leading the sector lower after the trucking company reported third quarter results that missed estimates.

Natural gas, steel, and financial stocks are also seeing considerable weakness on the day, while some strength has emerged among pharmaceutical and telecom stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have once again turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.4 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the upside ahead of this afternoon's Fed announcement. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.5 basis points at 1.800 percent.

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