After moving higher at the start of trading, U.S. stocks have continued to perform well over the course of the trading day on Friday. While buying interest has remained relatively subdued, the markets continue to benefit from news out of Europe.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, holding on to moderate gains. The Dow is up 35.69 points or 0.3 percent at 13,632.62, the Nasdaq is up 14.76 points or 0.5 percent at 3,190.72 and the S&P 500 is up 4.35 points or 0.3 percent at 1,464.61.
The strength on Wall Street comes on the heels of a report from the Financial Times indicating that European Union officials are working behind the scenes to pave the way for a new Spanish rescue program and unlimited bond buying by the European Central Bank.
Citing officials involved in the discussions, FT said the talks are focused on ensuring that the measures that will be required by international lenders as part of a new rescue program are in place before a bailout is formally requested.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "While discussions are ongoing, it doesn't mean Spain will be so quick to ask for the help as right now seems to be a fact finding mission for Spanish officials on what the conditions they will be subject to if need be."
Nonetheless, trading activity has remained relatively subdued amid a lack of major U.S. economic data as well as continued uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.
Among individual stocks, Apple (AAPL: Quote) is moving moderately higher as the company's highly anticipated iPhone 5 hits stores around the globe. Shares of Apple are up by 0.9 percent.
Earlier this week, Apple announced that pre-orders of the iPhone 5 topped two million in just 24 hours, more than double the previous record of one million held by the iPhone 4S.
Business software giant Oracle (ORCL: Quote) is also moving higher after releasing its fiscal first quarter results after the close of trading on Thursday.
Oracle reported first quarter adjusted earnings of $0.53 per share, in line with analyst estimates. However, the company said its revenues dipped 2 percent to $8.18 billion, coming in below expectations.
Meanwhile, shares of MicroVision (MVIS: Quote) have come under pressure after the developer of miniature laser display and imaging engines announced that Jeff Wilson has resigned his position as Chief Financial Officer. MicroVision is currently down by 8.2 percent.
While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable strength is visible among housing stocks. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index has advanced by 1.9 percent, reaching its best intraday level in almost five years.
KB Home (KBH: Quote) has helped to lead the housing sector higher, with the homebuilder surging up by 8.5 percent after unexpectedly reporting a third quarter profit compared to a year-ago loss.
Telecom stocks have also shown a notable move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca North American Telecom Index up by 1.7 percent. MetroPCS Communications (PCS: Quote) and Motorola Solutions (MSI: Quote) are turning in two of the sector's best performances.
Health insurance, biotechnology, and electronic storage stocks are also seeing strength in mid-day trading, although buying interest remains subdued.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the day up by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher over the course of the session after seeing early weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 1.77 percent after reaching a high of 1.793 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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