With traders reacting positively to the latest central bank news, stocks have shown a strong move to the upside over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory after moving modestly lower in early trading.
The strength that has emerged on Wall Street is partly due to a report from Reuters indicating that the European Central Bank is considering setting yield band targets under a new bond-buying program.
Central bank sources told Reuters that setting a band is an option gaining in favor among central bankers, but the decision would not be made before the ECB's next monetary policy meeting on September 6th.
The markets have also benefited from news of a letter Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent to Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., defending the Fed's actions to support the economy.
In the letter, which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Bernanke also told Issa there is "scope for further action by the Federal Reserve to ease financial conditions and strengthen the recovery."
Housing stocks have moved sharply higher on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 1.5 percent. With the gain, the index has reached a nearly four-year intraday high.
Significant strength has also emerged among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. Biotechnology, telecom, and natural gas stocks are also posting notable gains.
The major averages have seen some further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 102.38 points or 0.8 percent at 13,159.84, the Nasdaq is up 22.48 points or 0.7 percent at 3,075.88 and the S&P 500 is up 10.19 points or 0.7 percent at 1,412.27.
by RTT Staff Writer
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