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Stocks Seeing Further Upside In Afternoon Trading - U.S. Commentary

After moving mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Thursday, stocks have seen some further upside in the afternoon. The major averages have climbed more firmly into positive territory, adding to yesterday's gains.

The strength on Wall Street is partly due to the release of a report showing a much bigger than expected increase in pending home sales in the month of March, with the upbeat housing data overshadowing a separate report showing a much smaller than expected drop in weekly jobless claims.

Housing stocks have shown a strong upward move on the heels of the data, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index surging up by 2.5 percent. Ryland Group (RYL), PulteGroup (PHM), and M/I Homes (MHO) are posting strong gains after reporting their quarterly results.

Significant strength also remains visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Cirrus Logic (CRUS) and Xilinx (XLNX) are leading the sector higher.

Energy, brokerage, tobacco, and biotech stocks have also shown strong moves to the upside, while weakness remains visible among trucking, health insurance, and networking stocks.

The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the session in the past few minutes but are holding onto notable gains. The Dow is up 105.27 points or 0.8 percent at 13,195.99, the Nasdaq is up 18.10 points or 0.6 percent at 3,047.73 and the S&P 500 is up 7.87 points or 0.6 percent at 1,398.56.

by RTT Staff Writer

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