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Stocks Giving Back Ground But Remain Mostly Positive - U.S. Commentary

4/20/2012 1:59 PM ET

Stocks continue to perform well in mid-afternoon trading on Friday, although buying interest has waned from earlier in the session. The major averages have pulled back well off their best levels of the day but remain in positive territory.

A positive reaction to the latest batch of earnings news led to early strength on Wall Street, with big-name companies like Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), and Honeywell (HON) reporting better than expected quarterly results.

With Microsoft leading the way higher, software stocks continue to see substantial strength in the mid-afternoon. Reflecting the strength in the software sector, the Dow Jones Software Index has advanced by 2.5 percent.

Biotech stocks have also shown a strong move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 1.8 percent to a nearly nine-month intraday high. Sequenom (SQNM) and Myriad Genetics (MYGN) are turning in two of the sector's best performances.

Housing, commercial real estate, and pharmaceutical stocks also continue to see considerable strength, while some electronic storage and semiconductor stocks are posting steep losses.

The major averages have moved to the downside in the past few minutes, with the Nasdaq pulling back near the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq is up just 3.46 points or 0.1 percent at 3,011.02, the Dow is up 70.35 points or 0.5 percent at 13,034.45 and the S&P 500 is up 4.32 points or 0.3 percent at 1,381.24.

by RTT Staff Writer

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