U.S. Stocks Erase Losses as Utility, Consumer Shares Gain

U.S. stocks erased early losses as utility, consumer and commodity companies led gains, while financial companies declined the most.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was little changed at 1,612.91 at 11:04 a.m. in New York after slumping as much as 0.8 percent earlier.

The S&P 500 yesterday capped the biggest three-day rally since early January on better-than-estimated economic data and assurances on stimulus efforts from Federal Reserve officials. Fed Governor Jeremy Stein said today the central bank is providing more clarity about how it will wind down its $85 billion in monthly bond buying as unemployment falls toward 7 percent.

If the Fed makes a decision to begin reducing purchases in September, Stein said in New York, “it will give primary weight to the large stock of news that has accumulated since the inception of the program and will not be unduly influenced by whatever data releases arrive in the few weeks before the meeting.”

U.S. stock trading, already poised for the busiest month in a year, may get another boost in volume today as Russell Investments concludes the annual revisions to its equity benchmark gauges.

Trading volume is on track for the strongest month since May 2012, with approximately 7 billion shares changing hands on average each day in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Russell’s annual revisions usually spur one of the busiest sessions of the year. Last year’s reconstitution on June 22 helped fuel a jump in volume to 9.73 billion shares, the highest total of the year.

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