After ending the previous session sharply higher, stocks have seen some further upside during trading on Friday. The markets have benefited from a positive reaction to a report showing stronger than expected second quarter GDP growth.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 106.10 points or 0.8 percent at 12,994.03, the Nasdaq is up 34.94 points or 1.2 percent at 2,928.19 and the S&P 500 is up 14.99 points or 1.1 percent at 1,375.01.
The strength on Wall Street comes on the heels of the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing that the pace of U.S. economic growth slowed by less than anticipated in the second quarter.
The report said GDP increased by 1.5 percent in the second quarter compared to an upwardly revised 2.0 increase in the first quarter. Economists had been expecting GDP to increase by about 1.2 percent.
The stronger than expected GDP growth reflected positive contributions from consumer spending, exports, non-residential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment.
While the report points to continued economic growth, analysts noted that the slowdown still leaves the door open for further stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Meanwhile, Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan released a separate report showing that consumer sentiment deteriorated by less than previously estimated in the month of July.
The report showed that the consumer sentiment index for July was upwardly revised to 72.3 from the mid-month reading of 72.0. Despite the upward revision, the index remains down compared to the final June reading of 73.2 and is well below the nearly five-year high of 79.3 seen in May.
Among individual stocks, shares of Merck (MRK: Quote) are up by 3.1 percent after the drug giant reported better than expected second quarter earnings. The company benefited from an increase in sales of its diabetes drugs.
Biotech giant Amgen (AMGN: Quote) is also trading higher after reporting second quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates and raising its full-year guidance. Shares of Amgen are up by 3.8 percent.
On the other hand, shares of Facebook (FB: Quote) have come under pressure after the social networking giant reported second quarter results that came roughly in line with analyst estimates but disappointed investors by failing to provide guidance. Facebook has tumbled by 11.5 percent on the day.
Internet stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Internet Index surging up by 2.9 percent.
Online travel agency Expedia (EXPE: Quote) has helped to lead the internet sector higher, surging up by 24.5 after reporting better than expected second quarter results. Amazon (AMZN: Quote) and VeriSign (VRSN: Quote) are also posting strong gains after reporting their quarterly results.
Significant strength has also emerged among trucking stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent gain being posted by the Dow Jones Trucking Index. With the gain, the index is climbing further off the nine-month closing low it set on Wednesday.
Retail stocks have also moved notably higher over the course of the trading day, driving the Dow Jones Retail Index up by 1.7 percent to a record intraday high.
Telecom, pharmaceutical, railroad, and biotech stocks are also posting strong gains, moving higher along with most of the major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 2 percent.
The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day, adding to yesterday's strong gains. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 1 percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 1.6 percent, and the French CAC 40 Index soared by 2.3 percent,
In the bond market, treasuries have come under pressure, pulling back further off their recent record highs. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 8.3 basis points at 1.511 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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