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Major Averages Climb Firmly Into Positive Territory

Stocks have moved mostly higher in early trading on Friday, extending the substantial upward move that was seen in the previous session. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, reaching new multi-year intraday highs.

The early strength on Wall Street comes as traders continue to react positively to the Federal Reserve's announcement of its decision to provide further economic stimulus by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.

Looking ahead, the Fed said it would continue its purchases of mortgage-backed securities until the outlook for the labor market improves substantially.

Traders are also digesting a mixed batch of economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing slightly stronger than expected retail sales growth amid a jump in gas prices.

Benefiting from optimism about the outlook for demand, steel stocks have shown a particularly strong upward move in early trading. The NYSE Arca Steel Index has surged up by 4 percent, reaching its best intraday level in over four months.

Gold stocks are also seeing considerable strength amid a modest increase by the price of the precious metal. Housing, oil service, and computer hardware stocks are also posting substantial gains, moving higher along with most of the major sectors.

The major averages have seen some further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the young session. The Dow is up 66.44 points or 0.5 percent at 13,606.30, the Nasdaq is up 25.60 points or 0.8 percent at 3,181.43 and the S&P 500 is up 8.03 points or 0.6 percent at 1,468.02.

by RTT Staff Writer

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