Stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-afternoon trading on Wednesday, although buying interest remains relatively subdued. The major averages are hovering in positive territory after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session.
The markets are benefiting from a positive reaction to news of additional stimulus from the Bank of Japan, although the bank's decision to increase its asset purchase program by 10 trillion yen was largely seen as symbolic since the purchases are exclusively earmarked for 2013.
Buying interest was also generated by the release of a report from the National Association of Realtors showing a much stronger than expected increase in existing home sales in the month of August, which jumped to a two-year high.
Housing stocks are seeing considerable strength following the release of the data, with the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 2.2 percent. The gain has lifted the index back near last Friday's nearly five-year closing high.
Significant strength also remains visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 3.1 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The strength among airline stocks may be partly due to a sharp drop by the price of oil, which has led to optimism about lower fuel costs.
Trucking, electronic storage, and telecom stocks have also shown notable moves to the upside over the course of the trading day.
On the other hand, oil service stocks have come under pressure, moving lower along with the price of crude oil. With crude for October delivery tumbling $3.78 to $91.51 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 1.1 percent.
The major averages have pulled back off their best levels in recent trading but are holding on to modest gains. The Dow is up 39.91 points or 0.3 percent at 13,604.55, the Nasdaq is up 5.46 points or 0.2 percent at 3,183.26 and the S&P 500 is up 3.57 points or 0.2 percent at 1,462.89.
by RTT Staff Writer
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