Stocks Firmly In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading - US Commentary

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - After initially moving higher, stocks have seen some further ...

Alliance News 17 April, 2017 | 5:04PM
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WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - After initially moving higher, stocks have seen some further upside over the course of the trading day on Monday. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory after closing lower for three straight sessions.

In recent trading, the major averages have pulled back off their best levels, but they remain notably higher. The Dow is up 97.42 points or 0.5% at 20,550.67, the Nasdaq is up 28.87 points or 0.5% at 5,834.02 and the S&P 500 is up 10.44 points or 0.5% at 2,339.39.

Bargain hunting has contributed to the strength on Wall Street, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels after the Dow and the S&P 500 ended last Thursday's trading at their lowest closing levels in two months.

Traders have largely shrugged off ongoing geopolitical concerns as well as the release of a batch of disappointing US economic data.

The National Association of Home Builders released a report showing a bigger than expected pullback in homebuilder confidence in the month of April.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index dropped to 68 in April after jumping to 71 in March. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 70.

The bigger than expected decrease by the index came after it reached its highest level since June of 2005 in the previous month.

A separate report released by the New York Federal Reserve showed that the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in April.

While the markets were closed on Friday, the Commerce Department released a report showing a modest drop in US retail sales in the month of March.

The report said retail sales dipped by 0.2% in March after a revised 0.3% decline in February. Economists had expected sales to edge down by 0.1% compared to the 0.1% uptick originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a notable decrease in auto sales, retail sales came in unchanged for the second consecutive month. Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.2%.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed an unexpected decrease in consumer prices in the month of March.

Sector News

Trucking stocks continue to see significant strength in mid-day trading, with the Dow Jones Trucking Index climbing by 1.2%. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in five months.

YRC Worldwide (YRCW), Swift Transportation (SWFT), and Knight Transportation (KNX) are turning in some of the trucking sector's best performances on the day.

J.B. Hunt (JBHT) is also seeing some strength after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings, although it has pulled back off its best levels.

Notable strength is also visible among semiconductor and housing stocks, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index and the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index both up by 1%.

Most of the other major sectors have also moved to the upside on the day, although buying interest has remained somewhat subdued.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.1%, while China's Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.7%.

Meanwhile, most European markets remained closed on the day for Easter Monday.

In the bond market, treasuries are showing a lack of direction after trending higher in recent sessions. 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 2.234%.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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