Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Tuesday, although buying interest has waned from earlier in the session. The markets continue to benefit from optimism about the possibility of further monetary stimulus.
The major averages have recently pulled back well off their highs for the session but are holding on to gains. The Dow is up 87.35 points or 0.7 percent at 13,341.64, the Nasdaq is up 8.51 points or 0.3 percent at 3,112.53 and the S&P 500 is up 6.87 points or 0.5 percent at 1,435.95.
The strength on Wall Street comes as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve's upcoming monetary policy meeting. Many expect the central bank to announce a third round of quantitative easing to stimulate the sluggish economy.
However, many traders remain on the sidelines ahead of the German Federal Constitutional Court's ruling on a request for a temporary injunction against Europe's permanent bailout fund, with the decision due on Wednesday.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "Today is another sit and wait day for the macro news of the German Constitutional Court decision tomorrow at 4 am ET (widely expected to give the ESM the go ahead), the Dutch elections and the FOMC meeting on Thursday."
Meanwhile, the markets have largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing a narrower than expected U.S. trade deficit for the month of July.
The report showed that the trade deficit widened to $42.0 billion in July from a revised $41.9 billion in June. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $44.3 billion from the $42.9 billion deficit originally reported for the previous month.
Among individual stocks, convenience store operator Casey's General Stores (CASY) is moving notably higher after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings, although its revenues came in below analyst estimates. Shares of Casey's have surged up by 5.7 percent.
Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR) is also posting a notable gain amid news that Italian coffee giant Luigi Lavazza increased its stake in the coffee company to 6.8 percent.
On the other hand, shares of Shuffle Master (SHFL) have come under pressure after the casino games maker reported third quarter earnings and revenues that rose year-over-year but still came in weaker than expected. Shuffle Master is currently down by 3.2 percent.
Steel stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 2 percent. With the gain, the index is on pace to end the session at its best closing level in a month.
Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) and AK Steel (AKS) are turning in two of the steel sector's best performances, advancing by 7.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
Significant strength has also emerged among energy stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of crude oil. Crude for October delivery is climbing $0.53 to $97.07 a barrel.
Computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable strength, as reflected by the 1.5 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. Logitech (LOGI) has helped to lead the sector higher, surging up by 3.2 percent.
Gold, railroad, and brokerage stocks are also posting notable gains, moving to the upside along with most of the major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.7 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent.
The major European markets also ended the day mixed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged line, while the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index jumped by 1.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower over the course of the trading day. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.1 basis points at 1.694 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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