Bob Pisani is off; this post was written by CNBC producer Robert Hum.
Once again the markets are struggling to string two days of gains together (tired of hearing that yet?). Following yesterday’s strong close and the modestly higher open this (Thursday) morning, stocks are losing steam.
Momentum was lost at 10:00am ET when a disappointing Factory Orders report was released (up 1.2 percent vs. up 1.7 percent consensus).
Stocks having been moving lower since that lackluster report, which also prevented the S&P 500 from holding onto an important technical level. The large-cap index saw its high of 1105.67 immediately before 10am ET, when it barely touched its 200-day moving average. But that didn’t last long — it fell back below that level again once the weak economic figures were released.
Another leg lower was made just after Noon ET as the euro came under more pressure. At that time, the euro fell below its recent 4.5-year closing level low of $1.2176. Stocks followed suit, stumbling to their own session lows, as commodity stocks led the declines amid across-the-board weakness in metal commodities.
As a result, materials are giving back a good portion of their gains from yesterday:
Freeport-McMoRan down 5 percent,
AK Steel down 4 percent,
Alcoa down 3 percent,
BHP Billiton down 3 percent,
Rio Tinto down 2 percent.
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