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Stocks Holding Firmly In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary

(RTTNews) - After moving significantly higher early in the session, stocks have seen some further upside over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages have partly offset the steep losses posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 345.08 points or 1.4 percent at 24,928.50, the Nasdaq is up 184.95 points or 2.6 percent at 7,293.35 and the S&P 500 is up 43.58 points or 1.6 percent at 2,699.68.

Bargain hunting has contributed to the strength on Wall Street, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels after the major averages ended Wednesday's trading at multi-month closing lows.

A positive reaction to earnings news from big-name companies has also generated buying interest after disappointing earnings news weighed on the markets in the previous session.

Shares of Twitter (TWTR) are sharply higher after the social media giant reported third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Software giant Microsoft (MSFT) is also posting a substantial gain after reporting better than expected third quarter results.

Tesla (TSLA), Ford (F), and Whirlpool (WHR) are also among the well-known companies moving higher after reporting their quarterly results.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in the month of September.

The report said durable goods orders climbed by 0.8 percent in September after surging up by 4.6 percent in August. Economists had expected orders to drop by 0.9 percent.

The unexpected increase in durable goods orders was largely due to a jump in orders for transportation equipment, which shot up by 1.9 percent in September after spiking by 13.2 percent in August.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders inched up by just 0.1 percent in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent increase.

The National Association of Realtors also released a report showing an unexpected rebound in pending home sales in September.

NAR said its pending home sales index climbed by 0.5 percent to 104.6 in September after tumbling by 1.9 percent to a revised 104.1 in August.

The rebound came as a surprise to economists, who had been expecting pending home sales to edge down by 0.1 percent.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest rebound in initial jobless claims in the week ended October 20th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims crept up to 215,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 210,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 214,000.

Sector News

Software stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances on the day following the upbeat earnings news from industry giant Microsoft.

Reflecting the strength in the software sector, the Dow Jones Software Index has surged up by 4.3 percent after ending the previous session at its lowest closing level in well over three months.

Substantial strength also remains visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 3.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index. The index is bouncing off a more than five-month closing low.

Retail, computer hardware, housing, and steel stocks are also seeing considerable strength in mid-day trading, reflecting broad based buying interest on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, gold stocks are bucking the uptrend on the day, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index slumping by 3.3 percent despite a modest increase by the price of the precious metal.

Utilities stocks are also moving notably lower, giving back ground after being among the few groups to move to the upside on Wednesday.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw considerable weakness during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 3.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped by 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.6 percent, the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after moving sharply higher over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.2 basis points at 3.136 percent.
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