The choppy action gives the market the feel that it is in a transitional phase. Market players are struggling to make up their minds and that is producing back-and-forth action.
There is a negative bias to the movement but sufficient dip buying to prevent the selling from gaining real momentum. We've had some weak closes lately, so we'll see what develops in the final hour. So far, neither bulls nor bears are really asserting themselves.
Traders are having some luck with the mortgage insurance group, including MBIA (MBI), Radian Group (RDN) and MGIC Investment (MTG). Other than that, I don't see any other themes of interest, which tends to happen in transitional phases.
Keep in mind that a transitional phase doesn't necessarily mean that a major downtrend will develop. The market could regain its footing and trend to new highs, but the feel of the action is that there is a desire to lock in gains and to look for entries at lower points.
I'm under the weather today so I'm doing little. One important rule of trading is to limit your action when you are not feeling physically and mentally sharp, and am following that advice.