After moving notably higher in early trading on Monday, stocks have continued to perform well over the course of the trading session. The strong gains on the day are extending the substantial rally that was seen during trading last Friday.
While the Dow and the S&P 500 have given back some ground, the Nasdaq is seeing further upside and is currently up 27.13 points or 0.9 percent at 2,995.03. The Dow is up 73.71 points or 0.6 percent at 13,169.88 and the S&P 500 is up 7.08 points or 0.5 percent at 1,398.07.
The strength on Wall Street comes as traders continue to react positively to last Friday's monthly jobs report, which showed much stronger than expected job growth in the month of July.
The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July compared to expectations for an increase of 100,000 jobs. Despite the stronger than expected job growth for the month, the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged up to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent in June.
Buying interest has also been generated by news that Greece and its international creditors have agreed on the need to strengthen policy efforts and meet the country's bailout conditions. Lenders are set to resume discussions with Greek authorities in early September.
Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off remarks by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who warned that Europe is facing the threat of a psychological disintegration and urged all leaders to become more independent from their parliaments.
In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel that was published on Sunday, Monti said the debt crisis risks the future of the single-currency bloc.
Among individual stocks, shares of Best Buy (BBY: Quote) have moved sharply higher on news that the consumer electronic retailer's founder and chairman Richard Schulze offered to acquire the company for $24 to $26 per share in cash.
Schulze's offer price represents a premium of 36 percent to 47 percent to Best Buy's closing price of $17.64 on Friday. Best Buy is currently up by 10.1 percent on the news.
On the other hand, Knight Capital Group (KCG: Quote) has come under pressure after the financial services company said it has entered into an agreement for the sale of $400 million of 2 percent convertible preferred stock in an effort to survive the huge trading loss it incurred on erroneous trades.
While most of the major sectors have moved to the upside on the day, gold stocks are posting particularly strong gains in mid-day trading. Reflecting the strength among gold stocks, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index has surged up by 2.9 percent.
The strength in the gold sector comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery climbing $7.90 to $1,617.20 an ounce.
Networking stocks have also shown a strong upward move, driving the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 2.6 percent. Strong gains by Emulex (ELX: Quote) and Acme Packet (APKT: Quote) have helped to lift the index to its best intraday level in almost a month.
Significant strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. Tobacco, software, and airline stocks are also posting notable gains.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw significant strength during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.7 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both advanced by 0.8 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are regaining some ground after falling sharply last Friday. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4 basis points at 1.537 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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