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Stocks Moving Mostly Higher In Early Trading - U.S. Commentary

Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in early trading on Tuesday after ending the previous session mixed. The major averages have all jumped firmly into positive territory, with the Dow climbing back above 13,000.

While the Dow and the S&P 500 have pulled back off their highs in recent trading, the Nasdaq is seeing further upside. The Dow is up 95.52 points or 0.7 percent at 13,016.93, the Nasdaq is up 30.47 points or 1 percent at 3,018.87 and the S&P 500 is up 9.53 points or 0.7 percent at 1,379.10.

The early strength on Wall Street is partly due to news of a successful Spanish debt auction, which has contributed to a drop in Spanish bond yields and offset some of the recently renewed concerns about the European debt crisis.

Spain sold 3.2 billion euros worth of twelve and eighteen-month bills, above the target of 3 billion euros. While the yields were well above those sold last month, the auctions attracted improved demand.

Upbeat earnings news has also generated some positive sentiment, with shares of Coca-Cola (KO) up by 2.1 percent after the beverage giant reported better than expected first quarter earnings.

Coca-Cola reported first quarter earnings that rose to $0.89 per share from $0.82 per share in the same quarter a year ago, coming in above analyst estimates for $0.87 per share. The company benefited from a 5 percent increase in the volume of drinks sold.

Goldman Sachs (GS) also reported better than expected first quarter earnings and announced an increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.46 per share. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) also reported stronger than expected earnings growth, although the healthcare giant reported a modest drop in sales.

Meanwhile, trades have largely shrugged off some disappointing U.S. economic data, including a report showing an unexpected drop in housing starts in the month of March.

Networking stocks have shown a strong upward move, driving the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 1.4 percent. Ciena (CIEN), Infinera (INFN) and Acme Packet (APKT) are turning in some of the sector's best performances.

Significant strength has also emerged among healthcare provider stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain posted by the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Provider Index. Semiconductor, oil service, and housing stocks are also posting notable gains.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific moved modestly lower on Tuesday, extending the drop seen in the previous session. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 1.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside following the successful Spanish bond auction. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.8 basis points at 2.002 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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