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 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.
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.
The central bank also left interest rates at near-zero levels and said exceptionally low rates are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015.
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.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw considerable strength on Friday following the overnight rally on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 2.9 percent.
The major European markets have also moved sharply higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a notable move to the downside, extending a recent downward trend. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 6.1 basis points at 1.817 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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