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Stocks Seeing Considerable Volatility Amid Mixed Catalysts - U.S. Commentary

4/19/2012 11:10 AM ET

Stocks have seen considerable volatility over the course of morning trading on Thursday, as traders digest mixed catalysts. The major averages have been shown big swings back and forth across the unchanged line after ending the previous session firmly in the red.

The volatility on Wall Street comes as traders weigh better than expected earnings from Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) against a batch of disappointing U.S. economic data.

Bank of America and Morgan Stanley are currently up by 1.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively after reporting first quarter adjusted earnings that exceeded analyst estimates.

Meanwhile, buying interest has been partly offset by the release of a report from the Labor Department showing that jobless claims came in well above economist estimates last week.

Separate reports also showed an unexpected drop in existing home sales in March and a notable slowdown in the pace of growth in the Philadelphia-area manufacturing sector in April.

Nonetheless, considerable strength is visible among biotech stocks, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 6.7 percent. Human Genome Sciences (HGSI) is posting a standout gain on news that the company rejected a takeover bid from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) valuing the company at $2.6 billion.

Health insurance, internet, and oil service stocks are also posting strong gains in late morning trading. The strength among oil service stocks comes even as the price of crude oil shows a lack of direction.

On the other hand, some telecom stocks are posting steep losses, with Sprint Nextel (S) and Qualcomm (QCOM) down by 5.2 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

The major averages have moved to the upside in recent trading, climbing firmly into positive territory. The Nasdaq is up 21.30 points or 0.7 percent at 3,052.75, while the Dow is up 44.04 points or 0.3 percent at 13,076.79 and the S&P 500 is up 4.38 points or 0.3 percent at 1,389.52.

by RTT Staff Writer

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