With traders continuing to react positively to news of another round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve, stocks have moved notably higher over the course of morning trading on Friday, adding to the substantial gains posted in the previous session.
The continued strength on Wall Street comes following yesterday's announcement from the Fed 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.
While most of the major sectors have moved to the upside, steel stocks are posting particularly strong gains amid optimism about the outlook for demand. The NYSE Arca Steel Index is up by 3.2 percent after reaching a four-month high.
Significant strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 2.7 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. Networking, gold, and oil service stocks are also posting strong gains amid broad based buying interest.
The major averages have pulled back off their highs for the session in recent trading but remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 64.59 points or 0.5 percent at 13,604.45, the Nasdaq is up 30.23 points or 1 percent at 3,186.06 and the S&P 500 is up 9.07 points or 0.6 percent at 1,469.06.
by RTT Staff Writer
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